Identify Hazards On Roofs

Published On : 2017-03-09

Identify Hazards On Roofs


What are the hazards?

Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Roofers or servicemen working on roofs encounter many hazards on the job, including hazards associated with working at heights, accessing and egressing the roof, extreme weather and temperatures, walking on unsafe surfaces, and using tools and equipment on the roof. Unless these hazards are controlled by the employer or building owner, roof workers risk serious injury or death.

In 2004, the Department of Justice Canada issued Bill C-45. This law states which body is held criminally liable in the case of a fall or accident in the work place. It proposes severe penalties of imprisonment if failure to protect worker health and safety results in bodily harm or death and makes it possible to charge organizations with criminal negligence.

Identify Hazards On Roofs


To protect yourself and the workers against these hazards and possible charges, see below for what to look out for on your roof and rectify immediately.

Roof Stability: Ensure the roof is strong enough to support the weight of a human. Check the trusses are safe and intact. Assess the underlayment before setting a foot on the roof.

Ladder Safety: Are there safe access ladders installed securely, at least fifteen centimeters from the wall with rungs at regular intervals? Ladders typically have safety cages if higher than five meters,and rest platforms if higher than nine meters. 

Edge Awareness: Are there safety lines or guardrails around the perimeter of the roof?

Roof Holes and Obstacles: Are all skylights and holes in the roof clearly marked or covered? Without fall protection, an open hole on a roof could be just as deadly as the roof edge.

Rooftop Equipment Access: Are the units or equipment to be worked on properly accessible with non-slip walkway and safety railing or guardrail? Permanent guardrail systems installed around rooftop units largely reduce the risk of falls.

Improper Training and Use of Fall Protection Equipment: If a worker on the roof has not been properly trained, they are a rooftop safety hazard to themselves or to others. Examples of improper use of fall protection equipment are poorly anchored railing, incorrect length lanyards, and weak tie-off points.

Split Level Roofs and Fall Heights: Workers engaged in roofing activities on low-slope and split level roofs with unprotected sides and edges two meters above lower levels usually require proper fall protection equipment.

Weather Conditions: Ice, snow, and wind are always a hazard on a roof, making the shingles and other surfaces slippery and difficult to walk on.

Roof Safety Checklist

Download the roof safety checklist below for a guide on improving roof safety. Don’t be caught out and held criminally liable in the case of an accident in the workplace.

Identify Hazards On Roofs

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