How to Keep You and Your Family Safe During a Roofing Project

Job site safety really starts when you make the decision of which contractor to use. Would you select the professional contractor that does everything by the book? Or would you go with the less reputable guy who gives you an unbelievably low estimate,  or promises to waive your deductible on an insurance claim? Guess which one is probably going to have a greater regard for job site safety. 

I hate to cast dispersion, but a company that wants your business at any cost and is only concerned about its own bottom line is almost inevitably going to take a more relaxed attitude towards job site safety. The company that sees itself as a part of the community, that is concerned about its reputation and regulatory record is going to take the steps necessary to protect you and your loved ones as an integral part of protecting itself and its own good name.

But, even assuming you have selected a great contractor with an impeccable reputation there are still some things you can do to help keep everybody safe while your home is getting a new roof:

  • The first, easiest and most effective; don’t be home. Plan on having everyone in your household spend the day elsewhere while the project is going on. You can still meet your project supervisor in the morning, make sure he has a phone number to reach you at and stop by periodically throughout the day to check on progress, but stay out of the house while it is being roofed. It’s really loud and not fun to be inside anyway.
  • If you must stay home talk with your project supervisor to make sure he understands that there will be people in the house of which they need to be extra careful.
  • Be extremely careful entering and exiting the home. If you’re outside going in, look up at the roof and make sure it is safe to proceed and, if it is, quickly move through the area under the eave line. If you’re inside and want to come out you may want to call the project supervisor and have him or her come over to make sure the way is clear before you go out. Again, once you are clear move quickly from under the eave line to an area away from the house.
  • Don’t let children and pets go outside unescorted. Put a sign up or piece of tape across your door to help remind everyone that it is not safe to just casually step outside.
  • Never stand near the dumpster or dump trailer where the crew will be throwing debris down off the roof.
  • If you are checking out the job as it’s going on, never walk under or even near the roof line, even if the roof looks clear. Be aware that during construction your yard and driveway may be covered with staged materials, debris, tools and other equipment. Be careful where you walk, especially as your eyes tend to be drawn to the activity on the roof.
  • Yes, it is your roof, but don’t try and go up on it while work is going on. Walking on a completed roof is dangerous enough; walking on a half torn off roof with ropes, tools, materials and debris laying everywhere is treacherous. If there is something you want to see, have your project supervisor take a picture and bring it down to you.
  • Even the most thorough of clean ups will probably miss a few nails (remember, there were thousands of nails holding your old roof down). In addition to checking the driveway, be extra careful walking outside barefoot and mowing the lawn for a couple weeks after the work is done. If it seems like you are still finding a lot of nails call your contractor and ask them to come back and make another sweep with their magnetic rollers.