Any Canadian roofer knows the challenges of working in cold, wet, and windy weather. It’s tough and in the right conditions, is highly dangerous. Even the most experienced roofers see increases in the possibilities that a slip and fall could occur. The keys to roofing in bad weather start with acknowledging the hazards involved and taking a preventative approach.
Thousands of roofing-related accidents occur every year in Canada. According to statistics, the vast majority of these could have been successfully prevented. Common issues experienced in bad weather for roofing include bad lighting, slippery surfaces, and tripping hazards. As safety accidents waiting to happen even in good weather, once the wind starts blowing and/or a little bit of wetness gets added into the mix, suddenly, working conditions get worse. As a professional roofing contractor, it’s your job to ensure the environment is as safe as possible for all stakeholders. No one wants to responsible for a roofing accident happening on their watch.
Check to make sure every roofing contractor is equipped with the correct footwear and protective clothing. Protective footwear, in the case of roofing, is highly important. Though it’s not a foolproof way to keep from slipping on wet leaves, ice, and/or snow, protective non-slip footwear does provide some extra grip. Personal protective equipment that is properly added is also needed so that, in the event of a slip or fall, the body is protected as best as it can be. Any personal protective equipment should fit appropriately and not be too small or too large.
When it’s cold outside, blood circulation is highly important to anyone exposed to the elements. Be sure to keep warm, wear gloves, jackets, and hats, and be conscious of how your body is feeling temperature-wise. During breaks, be sure to sit in a heated area, where you have the opportunity to relax a little and retain some heat. Also, warm drinks (such as tea or coffee) can help keep contractors comfortable during breaks and provide energy
Regarding the cold and the hazards of roofing during winter-esque conditions, there are also numerous things to keep in mind. For example, keep salt on hand in case ice hazards present themselves during the roofing project. If there are water supplies involved in roofing, ensure they don’t freeze by storing them inside some place warm. Vehicles should be stocked with de-icer to ensure that they can be driven safely to and from the roofing project. To this point, before leaving, check the vehicle lights to ensure they are clear and able to provide visibility in tough winter conditions.
There should be a way to communicate with everyone working alongside you so that in the event of a safety incident, they can call for help. Any workers who are required to work out of sight should ideally be sent to do so in pairs. By ensuring communication is kept open, it makes it easier to ensure every contractor is safe and comfortable in their working position.
It is important to note that if you do feel you are at risk of being injured or that there are safety hazards unaddressed, do not return to work. Notify the manager and if work cannot be completed without getting near the hazard, there’s no reason to expose yourself to the risk. Being as safe and comfortable as possible in bad weather is key to success in roofing.