Roofing Safety Precautions and Summer Heat
Summer is a great time to get out and enjoy the outdoors! However, it can get pretty hot in Texas. In fact, temperatures on roofs can reach 170 degrees Fahrenheit or more! That’s hard, not only on roofing materials, but also on the roofers who have to go up and inspect or fix them.
Some problems that heat can cause on roofs include: cracks, bumps, and other types of damage that you likely wouldn’t notice until it starts to rain. Because of the higher temperatures, it’s recommended that roofs in the southwest are inspected every year rather than every three years. A yearly roof inspection will catch heat-related damage before it can damage more of your home.
Of course, any intense heat can actually be harder on our roofers doing inspections and repairs than it is on the roofs. We have to be careful and watch our team members for signs of heat stress, such as excessive sweating, red face, confusion, nausea, fatigue, and/or dizziness. Heat stress can be very dangerous with intense heat. To offset some of these concerns, we take the extra safety precautions of starting earlier in the day before the heat becomes excessive, keeping our team informed of things they can do to avoid dangerous heat stress – such as keeping hydrated and taking breaks in the shade to cool off, as well as having team members look out for each other so that they are aware of the signs in others and can make sure that no team member is reaching a critical condition. We feel this is important and worth it to prevent accidents and to maintain our professional standards. We want healthy team members and we certainly do not want to have to send a team member to the hospital. We take these precautions seriously to keep our professional standards high.
Other safety precautions we recommend when working on roofs:
*Keep the work area clean and organized (free of dirt, tools, and debris as much as possible).
*Block off work area to keep from children and pets.
* Identify and avoid all site danger areas such as power lines, underground hazards (cesspools and power lines), and unsafe roof access areas, skylights, etc..
*Do not remain on a roof when a storm is approaching. Lightning can strike from as far away as 20 miles.
*Do not work on a wet roof. They can be extremely slippery and are a safety hazard.
*Wear proper footwear. Soft soled, thick boots provide the best roof traction.
*Avoid falls by using safety-harness-lanyard, safety net, and guardrails.
*Make sure the ladder is set on a stable base before climbing.
*Wear eye protection when working with nails, power nails, saws, etc.
*Protect your back – pick up heavy loads using your knees.
*Consider a lift system to get heavy materials to the rooftop.
*Take the time to learn to use all tools properly. Test your skills before getting up on the roof.
*Do not touch materials with bare hands if you are working in intense heat. Doing so can cause burns.
*Do not use metal ladders near electrical wires. Ever. Electricity can leap, or arc, from a wire to a ladder several feet away. Additionally, keep materials such as flashing and drip edge away from electrical wires.