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Safety should be your number one priority for yourself and for everyone in your company. Management should look out for the safety of their employees, and employees should look out for the safety of their coworkers. Safety is everyone’s job and we all have to work together to stay safe. You should do things preemptively to ensure safety before you get on the roof, but how can you ensure safety when you get on your roof? 

While we are always quick to recommend that you avoid walking on your roof as much as possible, there are many times where you simply have to get on your roof. If you find yourself in a situation where you must get on the roof, it’s extremely important that you keep safety your top priority. Nothing on your roof is worth sustaining a life-altering injury for. Follow these tips to ensure you stay safe while on your roof.

Preemptive Actions to Stay Safe

Before you ever get on your roof, there are certain things you should do or should have already done to ensure it is safe. Some of these can be done by you in an office (studying the plans), and some can be done by the person who installed and works on your roof. However, you should pay attention to each of these items to keep yourself and everyone else on your roof safe.

Study the Roof Plan

Knowing what the roof looks like before you get on it may seem like overkill, but there are often skylights that you may not expect or a ladder that you might not see that can save you time on the roof. It’s important that you have some idea of what the roof looks like before you get on it.


Having guardrails installed on your roof is about as safe as you can get. Something near the edge of the roof that both warns you of the edge and prevents you from falling off is very important to the safety of everyone who steps foot on your roof.

Guardrail System With Walkway For a Safe Roof
Guardrail System With Walkway


You can use a walkway to provide a non-slip surface to prevent falls, while also guiding foot traffic where it should go on your roof. The walkways keep you away from the edge, and you’re less likely to damage the roof should you drop a tool or piece of equipment. There are certain spots you may want people to avoid. Putting walkways in other areas are a great way to keep everyone out of those danger spots. Make a commitment to yourself to always walk on the walkways when possible, and to encourage everyone around you to do the same. It can really increase overall roof safety.

Roof Hatch

A roof hatch can be a bit of an investment, but it is significantly safer than climbing an exterior ladder to access the roof. The hatch allows you to step from a safe place (interior ladder or stairs) directly onto the roof. Rather than climbing a ladder on the edge of the building, a roof hatch ensures you are completely safe the entire time.

Fixed Ladders

Ladders can be used to access the roof (if a hatch isn’t installed) or to access different roof sections that may have different heights. A fixed ladder is safer than setting up a new ladder each time you access the roof or a specific roof section. The key to fixed ladders is that they must be properly inspected, as they are constantly exposed to the elements.


Permanently installed tie-off anchors will allow anyone working on your roof to wear a harness and tie themselves off to the roof. This will prevent a fall from the roof, which can save lives.

Safely Cleaning off Roof with Harness Tied Off
Safely Cleaning off Roof with Harness Tied Off

Remaining Safe Once You’re On the Roof

There are more things you can do to stay safe once on the roof. More things to keep in mind after the preemptive safety steps:

Wear Proper Footwear

There are certain shoes that are appropriate for a roof, such as work boots with good grip. Loafers, high-heels, flip-flops, or similar shoes are not recommended on a roof for obvious reasons. Making sure you have good work boots that fit, have good tread remaining, and are tied tightly are crucial to working safely. Wearing improper footwear is recognized by OSHA as a leading cause of slips, trips, and falls, This is such an easy thing to do, just wear good shoes!

Stay Clear of the Edge

Make sure you stay clear of the edge unless you are tied off. The risk of falling off the roof is simply too great and is not worth your life. If there aren’t walkways or if you need venture off the walkways, make sure you stay clear of the edge unless you are tied off. Even when tied off, don’t go near the edge unnecessarily. If you must go near the edge, you should be tied off every time, and you should finish your task and then go back to the middle of the roof. It seems like you’ll never fall off the roof, but people do it every day. Don’t become a statistic, just stay away from the edge whenever possible.

Walk in Pairs

One of the biggest dangers of working on your roof is getting distracted. You are focused on the repair you’re making, the inspection your performing, or the line you’re running. It’s easy to lose track of where you are. The roof edge, skylights, and other fall hazards all pose a threat. Having a partner with you who is only focused on where the group is walking is a great way to stay focused on the task at hand without risking your safety.

Tie Yourself Off

Lastly, tying yourself off on your roof will prevent falls and keep you safe. If you have anchors installed that you can tie yourself off to, then use them! Don’t think it’s a waste of time tying yourself off. Falls may be rare, but the dangers of a fall are greater than the time it takes to tie off. If you have high parapet walls or guardrails, you don’t need to be tied off. But, if you’re on a roof without these safety measures and have to go near the edge, tie yourself off. Falling is such a threat to everyone’s life and health on the roof, tying off is an easy way to prevent it.


Staying safe on your roof isn’t hard, it just takes a little time and attention. Utilizing safety measures before getting on your roof is important. In addition to preparation, you also have to do certain things once on your roof. Considering the alternative, falling and getting seriously hurt or worse, it’s worth the extra time and money to stay safe. Some of the equipment isn’t cheap and can be a hassle to set up. But if these precautions mean you stay alive to go home to your family, it was all worth it. If you’d like to learn more about how you can remain safe on your roof, give us a call today. We have dedicated safety personnel who are happy to help our customers stay safe.

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