Safety tips for repairs to a storm-damaged roof

Recent storms and high winds have taken their toll on roofs across Yorkshire, so here are some tips from roofing experts on how to fix problems and stay safe.

Many of the tips provided are intended to help minimise the risk of serious injury, such as providing barriers to prevent falling, keeping your workstation tidy and providing safe access to the roof, claims JTC Roofing.

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There is also advice for what must be done before you begin working on your repairs, including identifying if your roof needs to be repaired or replaced and making a full assessment of costs to make sure you don’t overspend.

Safety should always be your main concern, so remembering minor things like keeping tools away from the edge and only carrying out repairs when weather conditions are safe go a long way to avoiding a major accident.

While these tips will help any DIY roofer to keep safe while making repairs, the most sensible solution is to hire a trained professional to carry out the job.

Fixing a problem yourself can prove more cost effective, but there’s no accounting for a potentially serious injury caused by a fall or debris dropping from the roof – so the best advice is to play it safe and call in the pros.

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Here are the 10 best tips for fixing a roof, according to JTC Roofing:

Carry out an assessment

The first thing to do if you suspect damage to your roof is to get an independent assessment to confirm if it’s in need of repair. You can do this yourself if you feel confident, but you must have the right safety equipment available to do so.

Repair or replace?

Before you start, make sure you clearly know if a small section of your roof needs fixing, or if it’s a job that requires a complete facelift. Roofs are usually built to last around 20-30 years, so if yours is older than this it may need a change.

Assess the expense

Fixing a roof can be expensive, so try to avoid forking out cash on repairs that may not be needed. If you have a minor issue, such as a leak that doesn’t appear to be getting any worse, there’s no need to invest large amounts of money in fixing it.

Use equipment to help prevent falling

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If you’re working within a metre of the roof edge then take all possible precautions to ensure your safety. Guard rails are the most sufficient way to prevent falling, but any other form of edge protection will do providing it is well secured.

Keep your working area tidy

Keeping a clean site and preventing debris from piling up reduces the risk of tiles and other rubbish from falling from your work area and potentially causing serious harm to anyone on the ground.

Provide an adequate platform

Providing a stable surface to work from will help reduce the risk of slipping or falling. Most surfaces will naturally provide you with grip, but some jobs, like working on a chimney, may require an additional safe platform to work from.

Avoid working on fragile materials

Working on a surface you know to be fragile increases the risk of you falling through. To prevent this, try working on fragile areas from underneath the roof. If that isn’t possible, then you must provide platform to work from, such as an MEWP, that prevents you from standing on the roof itself.

Keep the weather in mind

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Temperamental weather can be a major issue when attempting to fix your roof. If the forecast calls for heavy rain or windy conditions, then the best advice is to not take your chances and to leave it until the weather becomes less volatile.

Provide safe access to and from the roof

Making sure there is a safe way to enter and exit the roof is essential. If you’re using a ladder it must be properly secured, however the safest way is a to use general access or tower scaffolding.

Don’t do it

Unsurprisingly, the best way to keep safe when fixing your roof is to not do it at all. Roofers attribute to some of the highest proportions of seriously injured workers at construction sites, so if you have doubts about the safety measures you have in place, it may prove safer and simpler just to call in the experts.

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