Safety Tips

Residential Roofing

Get the Training Your Deserve!

Professional roofing requires training, experience and knowledge. If you don't know what you're doing, you're putting yourself and others at risk.

Roofing Risks

If you don't follow safe work procedures when roofing, you could:

Sustain fall injuries ranging from broken bones and abrasions to permanent disability or death.
Drop objects on other workers resulting in injuries or death. You won't feel this one, but you'll live with it for the rest of your life!
Cause chronic back injuries - from repetitive motions and lifting bundles incorrectly.

Protect Yourself

Use the right equipment for the job:

Fall arrest system
Toe boards (slide guards)
Life lines and harnesses
Steel-toed work boots
A hard hat for protection from overhead dangers
A cap, drinking water, appropriate clothing, and sun screen for protection against the sun
Work gloves for stripping and handling debris
First aid kit appropriate to crew size
Fire extinguisher
Read and understand the manufacturers operating manual/decals for all equipment you will be using

Walking the Plank-Safety

For safety's sake - follow safe work procedures. Fall protection required for all workers who are competent roofers and have been informed of the hazards.

Weather Watch

Roofers are some of the first people to tune into the weather forecasts every night! Anything that makes a roof slippery is a severe hazard. This includes rain, snow, frost and dew. Strong winds and lightning can make work extremely hazardous too.

Keep it Clean

Keeping your job site clean is an important step in roofing safety. Don't keep anything on the roof that you don't need. Use it, secure it, or take it down.

Even harmless looking objects can be dangerous. Loose pieces of metal can turn into large razor blades - if they get caught up in the wind, they can severely injure people on the ground. They can also cause you to slip, if you step on them.

Be careful while you're cleaning. Start at the gable closest to the chute, so you don't walk over debris.

Where Should I Start?

Take some time to think about how you're going to do the job. Come up with a safe plan.
Choose your equipment
Set up scaffolds and ladders. Ask yourself:
o Is the equipment strong enough, long enough (for ladders at least 1 metre (3 feet) higher than the eave), and in good condition?
o Is the equipment secured and/or stable?
Set up and secure the ladder hoist
Refer to Step Ladders & Extension Ladder sheet for more information

Roof Brackets

Use brackets that have at least 3 slots, put nails in every slot, and then give the bracket a tug to make sure it's secured.
Make sure the first bracket is within 12" of the gable end.
Use planks that are in good condition - no knots or splits.
Use the right sized planks - more than 6" of overhang past the end brackets is a danger.
Space butt ends of planks 2" to 6" apart.
Never remove lower planks for use above and don't remove any planks until the entire side is completed.


Pile all necessary material on the roof not less than 2 metres from the edge (make sure it won't slide off the roof).
Keep a constant eye on the gable if you are near it.
Always be aware of where you are on the roof - keep an eye on the edges too.
Daily inspections must be done by a competent worker throughout the day for fall and slipping hazards.

How to Hire a Contractor: Know your OHS responsibilities as the owner or contractor

Ask the contractor:

"Do you have a Workers' Compensation (WCB) account? What is the number?" Phone WCB to make sure the account is paid up. You don't want charges for accidents coming back to you! Request a clearance letter.
"What are your qualifications" Ask for references of previous customers (both in the last year and in the last few years). Visit the sites (or at least call them).
"How long have you been in business?" Too short a time may signal a business which has changed its name a number of times for legal reasons.
"How long have your employees been working for you? Are they trained? Who trained them?"
"Who will be in charge of my job? Are they qualified? Will they always be at the site during the completion of work?
Does the company have a Safety Program?

Check With:

Saskatchewan Home Builders' Association ;Regina & Region Home Builders' Association; Saskatoon & Region Home Builders' Association
Consumer & Corporate Affairs
The Better Business Bureau, or
Contact you local Roofing Association

Ask people you know and trust to give you the names of reputable contractors. It pays to do some front-end work.


There's nothing more important than thinking about what you're doing. Think about how to do the job right (safely). Think about what equipment you need for the specific job. Think about survival.

For more information, refer to current applicable Occupational Health & Safety Legislation.