As a professional roofing contractor in the northern United States and Canada, you never know what you’re going to get when it comes to the weather. What you might expect to be a cold, snowy day, it could end up mild and sunny. Why we bring this up is because working in such a wide range of weather conditions, there’s a strong need to minimize hazards and maximize safety. Strong winds, the accumulation of ice, and blowing snow creates the perfect conditions for a safety accident. Quality roofers should know how to adapt, protect themselves and the team working around them.
Before we share the secrets of the trade behind keeping roofing safe in bad weather, it must be stated that if you are uncomfortable working in unsafe conditions, don’t. If those around you are not adhering to the necessary safety precautions and/or are not keeping the environment safe, it’s well within your rights to not go up on the roof. Ideally, when managers identify a hazard or hear concerns related to unsafe work conditions, they will take care of it. If they refuse to address your concerns, stay clear until you feel comfortable returning to the roof.
Now, we can get into the tips we recommend when dealing with bad weather while roofing. To begin with, slipping is the most common worry among roofing contractors so be sure to have the right footwear. In addition to having high quality non-slip shoes, note the presence of any wet leaves, ice, and snow. To the point of protective personal equipment, ensure you are wearing the correct clothing and have nothing on that could snag onto anything. Also, throughout tough weather conditions, stay in touch with those around you and ensure that anyone separated from the group has a means of contact. If possible, work in pairs. That way, if there is a safety incident, it will be that much easier to provide help by keeping communications open.
In regions where you never know when it may start snowing, be sure to keep an inventory of salt in advance alongside any other materials that may help in reducing slipping. Any water supplies you might have, be sure to store them some place where they are not going to freeze. Throughout the day, ensure that you’re drinking warm, sweet drinks to keep energy up. Also – and this might be an afterthought, but it is important – ensure that there’s extra windshield washer fluid in the vehicle. Being prepared is key in the face of bad weather. That said, any contractor needs to know when to call it quits and take a break. There’s no need to continue working in severely dangerous conditions. If things get too bad, call it a day.
Thereby, roofing in bad weather becomes a mix of preparation and being mindful of hazards that could present themselves. By having the supplies you need to perform a roofing job safely, in addition to the correct clothing to combat difficult weather, a contractor should be able to navigate reasonably through tough weather conditions. Be it managing a team or as a member of a team, communication is key. In the presence of safety hazards, ensure there’s a direct line of communication to call for help should anything happen.
That is how to keep safe during less than preferable weather!