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Roof Safety Tips

Fall time in the Pacific Northwest finds homeowners pulling out the rickety aluminum ladder so they can get up and clean their gutters before the wet winter weather sets in.

While getting on a ladder to reach the roof seems like routine maintenance task, there is a high degree of risk that a slip or fall could occur. In fact, roofing is one of the most dangerous construction trades out there!

Hiring a professional roofer is the safest and most efficient way to perform roof maintenance. However, some people will still insist on doing the jobs themselves. If you’re one of those homeowners that loves DIY projects, we’re giving you some roofing safety tips that you can use to help prevent a serious injury from happening while up on the roof.

Buddy System

What do the Navy Seals and SCUBA divers have in common? Both groups operate using the buddy system.  In dangerous situations where a slip could lead to loss of life or limb, it’s always best to have someone nearby who’s watching your back. Should you fall off your ladder and break your ankle, you’ll be glad to know that you have someone nearby who can call for help. You can also have them pass tools and supplies up to you instead of having to bring everything up by yourself.

Safety Harness

Always wear a safety harness that’s attached to something big and sturdy. Harnesses can be purchased at your nearest home improvement stores for very little money. While you may find temptation to forgo using a harness, all it takes is one slip or misstep to cause you to lose your balance and fall off the roof or ladder.

Safety shoes or boots with good traction and steel toes can also help increase your safety.  If you were to wear regular street shoes, they might not give you the grip that you need to have a sure footing on the ladder or sloping roof.

Ladder Safety

Before you set foot on the ladder that’s been stored in your garage for the past 11 months, take a few minutes to visually inspect it before you set it up. Look for areas of significant rust or rot/deterioration . Examine the screws, joints, and safety parts to make sure nothing is loose or broken.

While setting up a ladder may seem pretty straightforward, there are a few things you can do to ensure your safety even further:

  • Find an area of level ground and dig holes in the dirt so the feet of your ladder won’t slip on the grass.
  • Extend your ladder at least three rungs above where it contacts the gutter. This will help you get back on to the ladder when it’s time to come down from the roof.
  • If the roof is uneven, add a ladder leveler which will make up for the unevenness.


It’s only a matter of time before the Pacific Northwest’s rainy season begins. This means it will be rainy or drizzling for many days or weeks in a row. You should avoid going up on your roof when it’s wet.  Wet leaves can make the roof even more slippery, and their dark coloration may make them hard to spot on a wet roof.

If it has recently snowed, or we’ve experienced freezing temperatures, black ice and large icicles could easily form on the roof.  Black ice is almost impossible to see due to its discoloration, and icicles have sharp jagged edges and weigh a few pounds each. When they come falling to the ground, they can cause a serious injury if you aren’t aware.

Focus on the Job at Hand

While it may be tempting to kick back and admire the view of the local neighborhood from your roof, it’s best if you save the sight-seeing until after the job has been completed. Your only concern should be safely performing the task at hand and getting back down to ground level. If you allow yourself to become distracted by the scenery, you could easily trip and fall off the roof or ladder.

Professional Roofers in Tacoma

At ACME Roofing, we have over 22 years of experience installing and maintaining roofs in the South Sound area. If you have a fear of heights or would like to leave your roof maintenance tasks to the professionals, give us a call at (253) 564-2292 to learn more about the services that we offer.