Category Archives: Roof Cleaning Safety

Roof Cleaning Safety

ROOF CLEANING SAFETY | THE BASICS OF FALL HAZARD

safety-iconSafety is a serious concern when cleaning roofs. Seattle is home to some of the steepest pitch roofs in the nation. When we are doing homes that have heavy moss growth like in the video above , we take every precaution to safely perform the task.In this post we are going to be discussing some of our methods and the tools we use.

Cleaning steep roofs accounts for about 50% of all the jobs PWNG does. We take great pride in having been in business the last 4 years without any safety issues arising. A lot of these techniques were brought into the company by my brother and partner Anthony Saldi.

2015workrelatedfatalitieswastate_waface-pdf

COMMON SAFETY TOOLS OF THE ROOF CLEANER 

checklistAnthonys earlier work experience consisted of bridge building and tower installation. Anthony came to PWNG with 15 years experience working safely from heights that at times were 100 feet in the air. He is our lead safety director and our weekly safety meeting coordinator.

The right tools of the trade are indispensable to correctly and safely cleaning steep roofs, never attempt to use a safety device you haven’t been properly trained on. Here are some devices we keep in our arsenal:

 

  • LADDER HOOKS: These hang over the peak of a roof and allow close up cleaning.
  • TOWER HOOKS: When cleaning steep roofs you must have 2 points of attachment. These tower hooks when connected to your Safety Harness help stabilize the user. They also stop the user from accidentally falling anymore than the length of the tower hooks which is typically 18 inches.
  • HARNESSES: Obviously you can’t work that high off the ground without having some sort of fall protection. When considering what brand or style of harness to buy , always think about how the harness is going to be used. All our harnesses come with D-ring hooks installed in the back,front and around the belt loop area. We have many places to attach ourselves to when working high off the ground.
  • CARABINERS AND ROPE GRABS: We have found it quite difficult to clean roofs facing down. The method we developed is to use approved D-ring hooks mounted to 5/8 rope grabs to repel downwards as we are cleaning. 
  • LADDER LEVELERS: A must have tool of the trade for dealing with uneven surfaces. 

 There are many other tools available for working off heights. We have found a method that works for us. Never attempt to learn how to use your safety devices before being properly trained on their setup and usage. The simple mistake of attaching a rope grab incorrectly can cause a very serious injury.

 

Installing Roof Anchors

Rope grab connected to a Tower Hook.

Ryan F. from PWNG Restoring a Cedar Roof Using D-rings and Rope Grabs


better safe than sorry png

When working on roofs safety is always a serious concern. Osha has listed 6858 fall related deaths between 1992 and 2010. I’m going to throw out a number right quick and I am asking you to repeat it with me. 360. 360.

That is the number of fatalities this year will have from fall related injuries. Yes thats right. The year isnt even over and we can tally the number of people who wont be coming home to a loved one, a child or spouse.

 never get up on a roof without the proper safety equipment and never try installing something you aren’t familiar with. 

The leading causes of private sector worker deaths (excluding highway collisions) in the construction industry were falls, followed by struck by object, electrocution, and caught-in/between. These “Fatal Four” were responsible for more than half (64.2%) the construction worker deaths in 2015, BLS reports.

Roof anchors are part of any roof cleaner’s arsenal. Without knowing how to install them properly you can cause leaks in a home and very real injuries to the person hooking off. In this post we will be addressing how to safely, quickly and correctly install a permanent double-d roof anchor.  The procedure consists of 4 steps:

  1. Finding a roof rafter
  2. Removing the shingles.
  3. Installing the roof anchor
  4. Replacing the roof shingles.

PICK WHERE YOU WANT TO INSTALL ROOF ANCHOR 

For a roof anchor to do its job it must be installed into a roof rafter. Finding a roof rafter without tearing off a large area of shingles can be tricky. We use (2) methods to find a rafter:

  1. Knocking: This can be something only someone with experience can do, if you have a good ear you can hear the difference in the banging of your hammer off of the roof shingles. Find a spot that doesn’t sound hollow and mark the area.
  2. Follow the roof rafter from the soffit area. This method works better with someone on the ground directing the person installing roof anchor to a general area they should begin removing the shingles.

REMOVE THE SHINGLES 

Depending on what type of roofing you are removing different tools are used. For cedar roofs a Dasco shingle ripper is a great tool to have.  Carefully remove the shingles and set them aside for after the installation of the roof anchor.

INSTALL THE ANCHOR 

After the shingles have been removed and you are down to the level of roofing paper, install the roof anchor with the provided screws or nails. We prefer to use a double D-ring roof anchor to allow its use on both sides of the roof.  Make sure to nail or screw directly into the roof ridge.

REPLACE THE SHINGLES 

Once you’ve installed the roof anchor, replace the roofing shingles you previously removed. Henrys 208 roof caulking is our choice for filling holes, caused by removing the shingles. Make sure everything is replaced correctly and there are no intrusions into the roofing area that can cause a leak.

When working on roofs safety is always a serious concern, never get up on a roof without the proper safety equipment and never try installing something you aren’t familiar with. Carefully read the instructions on your roofing anchors and follow our guideline for the best practices to use when installing roof anchors.


Shoes for Walking on Cedar Roofing

Shoes for walking cedar roof

HOW NOT TO SLIP ON A CEDAR ROOF

Korkers are a good tool to add to any roof cleaners arsenal. They are shoes with spikes that grab ahold of extremely slippery cedar shakes. Cedar shakes are like ice when they are wet and it’s a GUARANTEE that a cleaner will be headed for a long fall without some measure of safety. I would venture to say that walking a cedar roof is nearly impossible even in dry conditions!

Although korkers are a necessity for safely cleaning cedar roofs they do not take the place of necessary safety devices for fall protection such as:

  • Lanyards
  • Safety harness
  • Roof hooks
  • Chicken ladders
  • Safety engineered rope