materials, and tools can all pose a tripping hazard. In
windy conditions, they may also become flying debris.
■ Extreme Heat – A cool roof can be a hot place for
workers surrounded by reflected heat. Roofing repairs
and renovations are also a tiring activity and technicians
are susceptible to something as simple as dehydration when performing tasks for hours under the sun,
■ Slippery Conditions – It can be difficult to maintaining footing on steep pitches, ice, snow, moisture, or flat
roofs with gravel.
■ Electrical – Workers need to be aware of roof tasks that
take them near overhead power lines, conduit, solar
panels, and HVAC equipment, Richardson notes.
■ Chemical Exposure – There’s a high potential that
employees might breathe in or touch toxins, such as
asbestos or lead, when dealing with roofing materials,
he adds. This can include biological materials such as
rodent and bird droppings.
■ Repetitive Motion Injuries – Roof work involves
activities that can cause strain, such as standing for long
periods of time, kneeling, lifting, using tools, and climbing ladders.
In addition to keeping contractors safe, you also want to
ensure your roof isn’t being abused from careless contact.
Even the simple act of strolling across high traffic areas can
When service technicians access your roof, their priority
is to work on the equipment at hand. If they aren’t thinking
about your roof integrity, workers may leave tools or debris
from repairs, says Impellizeri. Even accidentally dropping
tools can puncture the membrane.
There’s also a possibility that unnecessary holes may
be drilled into the roof to install equipment or flashing
around penetrations may be forgotten. Down the road,
deterioration in these weak spots can pose a tripping
hazard, cautions Richardson.
But contractors aren’t the only ones who can cause wear
and tear. Your own staff may not be thinking about what’s
TIPS FOR SAFE SNOW AND ICE REMOVAL
While snow removal may be necessary to
prevent overloading and
collapse or to clear off space
for construction or repairs,
it also exposes workers to a
number of risks.
Employees might need to
climb directly onto the roof
and use equipment such as shovels, snow rakes, snow blowers,
and ladders. These operations may also be performed from the
ground level using snow rakes. Aerial lifts are sometimes used
to access roofs and apply de-icing materials. Snow, ice, and
wind can make it difficult for contractors to maintain their foot-
ing and grip while working in the winter.
Before snow starts to accumulate, think about what is needed
to safely remove snow from roofs or other elevated surfaces:
■ Can snow be removed without workers going onto the roof?
■ Are there any hazards on the roof that might become hidden
by the snow and need to be marked so that workers can see
them, such as skylights, roof drains, and vents?
■ Based on the building’s layout, how should the snow be
removed to prevent unbalanced loading?
■ What are the maximum load limits of the roof and how do
they compare with the estimated total weight of snow, snow
removal equipment, and workers on the roof?
■ What tools, equipment, protective devices, clothing, and
footwear will workers need?
■ What type of fall protection will be used to protect staff on
roofs and other elevated surfaces?
■ What training will employees need to work safely?
■ How will mechanized snow removal equipment be elevated to
■ How will you protect people on the ground from snow and ice
falling off the roof during removal operations?
Whenever possible, use methods to clear ice and snow without
workers going on the roof. Staff can climb up ladders to apply
de-icing materials or use snow rakes or drag lines from the ground.
Keep in mind that workers and bystanders standing below
could become trapped under snow falling from roofs and suffocate. Mark a safe work zone in the area where snow will be removed and keep people back 10 feet from the point where snow
is expected to be blown or fall. Ensure workers are wearing eye
and head protection, especially when removing ice. When using
snow rakes, have staff remove small amounts of snow at a time.
If it is necessary for workers to access the roof for snow
removal, evaluate the loads exerted on the roof – total weight
of snow, workers, and equipment used – compared to the load
limit. Snow load is the weight of the snow as generally reported
in pounds per square foot. The weight of the snow will vary
depending on its water content. Snow load on the ground can
provide a rough indication of roof snow load, but roof snow
loads also depend upon factors such as melting and re-freezing
of snow and ice, drifting, roof slope, type of roof, and design
INFORMATION COURTES Y OF OSHA