Roofing Safety Tips: How To Use A Roof Harness

Using safety equipment such as a harness when working on a roof can protect you from accidents or falling. Learn about the different styles available and how to use them.

Naturally, when you perform any sort of work on a roof, being up high presents a significant falling hazard. Statistics show that falling from a roof causes injuries, as well as fatalities, every year. But you can help to protect yourself from accidents by using care and proper safety equipment every time you work on a roof.

If you can help it, you should stay off of a wet or a snowy roof. Try to schedule your work for a dry, sunny day. Always wear a good pair of rubber - soled boots or shoes, and use ladders and other climbing equipment that are in good condition.

Most importantly, you should use a roof harness to help prevent you from free falling off of a roof. A roof harness won't stop you from falling at all. If you do lose your footing while you're on a roof, it will help to guide your fall. This means that instead of falling like a rock to the ground below, a roof harness will help guide you to the ground in a slower, more controlled manner. It can also allow you enough support so you can possibly regain your footing to keep you from falling.

Roof harnesses come in several different styles, but the most common is the padded "full body" type. This type of safety gear can be purchased at your local home supply store. For your maximum safety, be sure that you read and follow the manufacturer's directions for use. Basically, though, a full body roof harness fits around your legs, back, and chest. Before you put a roof harness on, you should be dressed in jeans or work pants and a long sleeve shirt. A pair of shorts and a tee shirt will not offer your arms and legs suitable protection. On the other hand, you shouldn't be dressed in bulky coveralls that are hard to move in either. Wearing bulky clothes won't allow you to properly adjust the roof harness too.

To put a roof harness on your body, there are adjustable nylon straps that fit around the tops of each leg. There are also more straps that pull up and across your back and chest. There is also a D - Ring on the back of a roof harness so a heavy duty rope, known as a "Life Line" can be attached to it. After you put a roof harness on, it should be adjusted so that it is snug, but not tight. You should be able to move relatively freely while wearing a roof harness; it should also fit your body type exactly.

Once the harness is put on, you will need to attach it to at least one strong connection on the roof you are going to work on. The best connection is probably an anchor bracket. This steel bracket is placed over a rafter or a roof truss. It is then securely attached to the roof with its included hardware. The bracket has a place to attach a heavy duty Life Line rope to it. Attached to the Life Line is another cable known as a "Rope Grab". The Rope Grab fits over the Life Line. And finally, a "Lanyard", which is a short, heavy duty rope that has a shock absorber attached to it, runs from the Rope Grab to the roof harness.

As you need to change your location on the roof, anchor brackets can be readily moved and reinstalled. Or, you can install permanent anchor brackets to the roof of your house, for example, so they are always ready for use. Once you are connected to a roof you are working on with a roof harness and the heavy duty safety ropes, you will need to be careful not to trip over the ropes. Also, you will have to make sure that the edges of the roof don't cut or otherwise damage the ropes. While this article discusses the specifics of roofing and how to ensure safety while roofing, if you are still unsure, it's best not to put your safety on the line. Call a professional - Atlanta Roof Repair and Replacement | J&M Roofing, Inc. - and get your roof repair done safely without leaving your couch. Have a professional handle it, because at the end of the day, while you can do self-repair, a professional knows the ins and outs that a DIY fanatic may not.

© High Speed Ventures 2011