Ladder Safety when Accessing your Roof

Whether taking down Christmas lights or checking rooflines after heavy wind, rain or snow, many will be scaling ladders this winter to get out on the roof. It goes without saying that this is a highly dangerous activity at any time of year, and winter is certainly no exception!

Here are a few tips to keep you safe when using a ladder to access your roof:

Before starting any work, consider alternatives! Ladders are an effective way of climbing onto a roof, but are not the safest. Is the work possible from the ground? Clearing gutters of fallen leaves or removing snow and ice can be done using specially designed tools from ground level.

If not, steps should be taken to ensure that your ladder is fully stable before ascending. The Health and Safety Executive offers a number of guidelines in this respect. For example:

  • Check that the angle of the ladder to ground or stable surface it is being placed on is close to 75 degrees. A simple way to remember this is the one-in-four rule: keep 1 metre of distance between the bottom of the ladder and the wall for every 4 metres the ladder is extended to. The top rung of the ladder should be at a level with the roof that allows for comfortable mounting and dismounting.
  • The feet of the ladder should always be placed on solid ground that’s free of loose debris or gravel. In the colder months, ice should also be a consideration. For extended ladders and those used to access considerable heights, secure the top of the ladder to the landing surface wherever possible. Restraining straps can be used in some situations.
  • As well as checking that the feet will not slide around while in use, the rungs of the ladder should also be inspected for oil, grease or other hazards that may result in a slip or fall.
  • Extra care should be taken to inspect wooden ladders, as these are more susceptible to wear and tear, such as cracks, splintering, rot and mould.
  • While using the ladder, always face forwards and keep both hands free to hold onto the sides while climbing and descending.
  • Extending ladders can cause instability if not done correctly. There should be an overlap of at least 1 ½ rungs for ladders up to 5 metres in closed length, while those over 6 months should overlap by 3 ½ rungs.

All but the most minor roof repairs should be carried out by professionals, which is why climbing onto your roof using a ladder should be a last resort. Call on the expert team at Morgan Asphalte for all guttering repairs, leaks, damage caused by heavy weather and more. Our qualified roofers are available throughout the London area, with competitive prices and full insurance cover offered across the board. For more information, or to request a quote, don’t hesitate to get in touch today.

Posted on 07 January 2015 in Roof Safety.

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