How to Stay Safe on the Roof
Doing work to your roof and/or gutters means doing work at a great height and with that comes certain risks. Whether you are a homeowner wanting to take on the work yourself or a professional on a job – make sure to stay as safe as you possibly can. There are many safety devices that can (and should) be used and these can be hired rather than purchased. Contact one of your local tool rental companies for further advice.
A nifty thing to use is metal ladder brackets which basically allow you to hook a ladder over the house ridge. There are roof brackets or even toe board jacks that can be nailed to the roof and it will support both you and any materials you use on a 2 by 6 plank. It is advisable to use a strong and straight grained wood, less than 10 feet long. If it is any longer than that you will need another support bracket for the middle of it. These types of brackets have notches in them in order to easily slip off the nails when shingle layers have been laid above. You will need to use long nails to secure the brackets and jacks so that it will go into the wood decking and/or rafters. Remember to place the nails somewhere the materials will later cover.
By using an angled seat board you can sit on a level surface whilst doing roofing or guttering work. Make sure that the sides of the board match the slope of the roof you are working on. Another great thing to use when working at a great height is a safety belt or a safety harness with a halyard and connected to a ¾ inch nylon rope. This should allow you to work safely on even very steeply sloped roofs, without risking a dangerous fall. You will obviously have to secure it to something strong and sturdy. This could be a tree trunk on the other side of the house or you could secure it to a toe board jack that has been turned upside down and nailed down to the other side of the roof. I would advice to add a few loops knotted along the rope as it will allow for work at different levels of the roof.
Always check your ladder for cracks and weaknesses in the rungs – before you use it. Once you have done your check, place the ladder on even and firm ground at the correct distance from the house wall. It is advised that this distance should be about a quarter of the vertical distance from the ground the ladder stands on, up to the top rung of the ladder. If you have to place it on a slippery surface, make sure to purchase and install so called rubber safety shoes on it.