What Safety Equipment Is Needed to Stay Safe on a Steep Roof?

Why Safety Equipment Is Necessary

Falling from a steep roof can lead to severe injury or even death. In 2016 there were 364 deaths related to roofing falls, averaging nearly one death each day. Understanding the safety measures and regulations that go with working on rooftops and in other roofing projects where there is potential for a fall will help you learn to protect yourself and keep others safe. According to a CBS report, doing roof work is among the top 20 most hazardous jobs in the United States.

Steep Roof Safety Equipment

It’s possible to work safely on rooftops, but using safety equipment is of particular concern when it comes to doing work, such as re-shingling, on a steeply inclined roof. First, you need to consider the clothes that you wear while working on a roof. You want loose-fitting and comfortable clothes so your body is free to move and there are no restrictions. The best shoes are rubber-soled shoes so you can have proper traction. If there’s inclement weather, select another day to do the work. Wind and rain can not only influence your well-being, but rain can make an already dangerous job more precarious.

Let’s take a closer look at what sort of safety equipment you need to stay safe on a steep roof.

Proper Shoes

As mentioned, rubber-soled shoes are the best. They’re able to “grab” the surfaces where they’re used, providing safer traction for workers on rooftops. You’ll also want something with ankle support so you don’t inadvertently twist your ankle or knee from an unexpected or unanticipated movement.


One of the first things you need in your equipment reserves is a very sturdy and extendable ladder. Before using a ladder, always inspect it for damage. The sides and rungs should not be dented or bent and all moveable parts functioning. The ladder should be able to extend at least three feet beyond the eaves so climbing up and getting onto the roof is as safe as possible. Make sure the base of the ladder is secured and then also secure the ladder at the top to the eaves so it isn’t movable. It’s important to hold on to the ladder with both hands as you get off it.

For large roofing jobs, you may need a few ladders and some scaffolding around the job. Having ladders to get from one row to the other can be helpful. The ladders don’t have to be especially elaborate, but they have to be secure enough to move from place to place. If, for example, you’re working on a roof that is just a couple feet wider than your potential reach, one scaffolding row and a single ladder may be all you need.

Roof Jacks

Sometimes called “roof brackets,” you can find these at hardware stores. They can be used along with 2-by-8 boards to construct roof deck scaffolding. They’re able to provide support so long as they’re used with at least 2.5- to 3-inch nails. The bottom part of each bracket, or jack, is supposed to fit underneath the top layer of shingles, and as long as the nails you use don’t miss the rafters, there should be no additional or lingering concern about roof leakage during the short amount of time they’re installed. The boards are designed to fit—flush—inside the brackets, and the said nail or screw is there to prevent them from moving. Once removed, the roof will need to be repaired.


There are some roof types that are so high and steep that working from scaffolding can still be dangerous so you need to take additional safety measures. Professional roofers always opt for a harness—even on less-steep roofs—as it’s a good way to secure themselves to the site, and it provides the extra security an individual needs when working from a roof. Normally, a harness set includes the actual harness, a rope, a lanyard for adjusting the rope tension, and a roof anchor to secure yourself. Attaching your anchor to the peak of the roof is one of the more important parts of verifying your security and safety.

After you drive the lag bolts down into the rafters, you can link yourself (as you’re wearing the harness) and be able to keep connected, physically, to the top of the house. With this piece of steep roof safety equipment, you’re able to walk four feet away from it in various directions. If you need to move along the roof more than four feet, you need to drive another lag bolt in to secure yourself.

Guardrails, Nets, and More

For starters, the government requires companies to protect (and secure) their workers from potential falls when working at heights. There are specific protection equipment and safety systems in place to guarantee worker safety.

Generally speaking, there should be components of personal fall arrest (PFA) systems safeguarding the workers, in addition to nets and a guardrail. They can be set up around the perimeter of the roof site on steep-slope and low-slope sites.

Umbrella Rules

Anyone who’s working from a height of more than 4 feet (1.2 meters) must use one (or more) of these protections. It’s incumbent upon the worker and business to make sure all the security fittings are in good, working condition, free of wear and tear that might undermine their intended usage.

Remember the Basics

  • Make sure your harness is properly fitted and snug enough to keep you from slipping out.
  • Utilize the safety inputs, such as guardrails and lifelines, on your roofing job.
  • Keep an eye on your worksite. Make sure there isn’t anything impeding the space of the worksite that could jeopardize your safety.
  • Identify skylights or other rooftop hazards and cordon them off.
  • Be dressed for the task. Clothes need to allow freedom of movement and shoes need to have proper traction.

Interstate Roofing has been a local favorite for decades. Come find out why by connecting with us for your next roofing project.

What Should You Look for in a Roofing Contractor?

A leaky roof is more than just an inconvenience: it can be a disaster, as water damage is capable of doing great harm to your home, valuables, and health. Even without water getting in, if your roof isn’t secure, heat can leak out and greatly drive up your energy bill. That’s why keeping your roof in great condition through regular care and maintenance is an absolute must, and why it’s important you have a great roofing contractor.

The right roofing contractor will get the job done quickly and effectively, without overcharging you for the work they do. Of course, finding the right contractor may prove to be a bit of a challenge in its own right. While there are plenty of roofers around, how do you choose the best one to work on your home?

As with many things in life, it’s all about doing your homework and knowing what to look for. Below are a few things you should look for in a roofing contractor in the Vancouver, WA, area:

The Cheapest Option Isn’t Always the Best

Of course, saving money should be near the top of your list when looking for a roofing contractor. However, that shouldn’t always mean going for the cheapest option; as with many things in life, you get what you pay for. You’re paying for the experience, skill, and talent of your roofers, not to mention the quality of the materials they use. All of these things have an inherent cost.

If the work is offered too cheaply, it may be because it’s simply not good quality. While you may be able to get a repair job performed extremely cheaply by a less-than-reputable roofer, it may not hold up. In the long run, this will end up costing you a good deal more money when your roof needs to be repaired again after a short time.

That isn’t to say you should overpay, however: there are also less-than-reputable roofers who may artificially gouge their prices. To make an educated decision, look for a roofer like Interstate Roofing, which offers transparency with regards to their prices. They charge a minimum service call charge that covers the first hour of labor. Every hour after is billed at a lower rate, with an additional cost for materials. Larger, more extensive repairs will cost more.

Do They Offer Emergency Services?

A great roofing contractor will be available 24/7. That’s because major roofing problems can occur at any time. If you discover your roof is leaking during a rainstorm in the middle of the night, you may need to have a roofer come in right away to avoid catastrophic damage to your home and property.

Before deciding on a roofing contractor, you should find out if they offer on-call emergency services. A roofing emergency will not wait for the most convenient time to occur. That means you need a roofer who’s always available, no matter the day or time.

Do They Take Safety Seriously?

It may sound obvious, but safety needs to be a top priority for all roofers. It’s a risky job, after all: climbing around on a high rooftop, possibly under wet or icy conditions. Doing this safely requires proper training, equipment, and care. So how can you ascertain whether your roofer has the appropriate commitment to safety?

Start by heading to their company website and researching what steps they’ve taken to keep their workers safe. Do their employees undergo a safety orientation? Have they been trained in CPR and first aid? What is the company’s safety policy? Does it meet the bare minimum state requirements, or has the company gone above and beyond what’s required of them?

All of these are important to take note of when looking for great roofing contractors. Vancouver, WA has strict safety standards, but a good roofer will do even more than what’s required.

Is Their Paperwork in Order?

Another important quality to look for in a roofing contractor is the proper licensing and insurance paperwork. If you’re considering any particular roofing company, make sure to ask what type of insurance they hold. Are they covered in case of damage or injury?

You’ll also want to ask what certifications your roofing contractors hold. You should look for a company that’s certified by various roofing material manufacturers. This helps to ensure your contractor is fully committed to safety, as well as to customer satisfaction.

It’s also worth doing a little research on what organizations your prospective roofing contractors are allied with. For example, a great roofing company in Vancouver, WA, will probably be a member of the Pacific Northwest division of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC).

Look for Satisfied Customers

Of course, all the licenses and paperwork in the world won’t matter if the customers aren’t happy. When looking for a roofing contractor, you should always look for testimonials from satisfied customers. Check online and read reviews on sites such as Google or Angie’s List. Read referrals that the company has online as well. If possible, talk to your neighbors about their experiences; do they have a roofing contractor they’re especially happy with?

You’ll also want to make sure the company has a reputation for working to keep their customers happy. A good rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) can be a clue that your prospective roofer makes customer satisfaction a priority.

When you’re checking these references, make sure you go back a few years. A great roofing company will have many years of satisfied customers. Interstate Roofing, for example, has been in business since 1988 and can furnish “Report Cards” filled out by satisfied customers.