4 Steps for Safe Roofing Installations
Efficient and productive crews all share one thing—they take safety seriously.
It's no secret that roofing is a dangerous job that has the potential even to be fatal. So before your crew jumps into the busy roofing season ahead, review our four steps for safe roofing installations full of tips to help your crew stay safe and productive on the job.
1. Train and Prepare Before Even Stepping on the Roof
Before you even head to the job site, hold a training session with your crew to ensure alignment and that everyone is following the same procedures. At this meeting, you can review safety guides, rules to follow for the season, and discuss the correct course of action if accidents happen on the job. You can even ensure every work truck has a first aid kit.
It's also valuable to check that your crews' tools are working properly and to walk through a demo with your team, especially if you have newcomers for the season. To ensure safety and efficiency, everyone on your crew should be confident using each tool before you set foot on the jobsite.
When you're ready to head out on the job, keep an eye on the forecast to prepare for wet and hot conditions so that you can plan breaks for inclement weather or to rest and hydrate in the heat. Finally, once you're at the site, conduct a thorough evaluation of the roof so you are aware of every variable, like if there are skylights or holes you need to cover or worn-out areas to maneuver cautiously.
2. Follow Safety Measures We've all seen videos of roofers on a job that would make OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) go crazy—suspect ladders and no fall protection included. Let these serve as an example of what not to do.
Safety measures are around for a reason, and while putting them in place will take a little time, they are life-saving, and it's invaluable to invest in your crew’s safety. Before getting on the roof, always check that your ladder or scaffolding is on stable ground and is locked and secured. Then, once you're on the roof, harness up correctly. Review this comprehensive guide from the National Roofing Contractors Association to learn about fall protection so your crew can always follow the best practices.
3. Use the Right Products and Use Them Well Roofing requires mobility, and it's critical to always wear the right gear for the job. That means shoes with adequate tread, comfortable clothing that allows you to move but isn't loose enough to pose a risk, work gloves, eye protection when necessary, and the right tool belt to keep the essentials with you.
When installing the moisture barrier, opt for synthetic underlayment like STINGER® EXO®, which has a non-skid additive for slip resistance and offers high tear strength compared to felt paper. As a result, you will have a more secure walking surface, and synthetic underlayment is a more protective water barrier to keep the roof deck dry.
To secure synthetic roofing underlayment, many manufacturers, such as GAF, Owens Corning, and IKO, require hand drive or collated cap nails for adherence to their highest level of warranty protection. The best-practice fastener is a collated cap nail like STINGER NailPac®, which holds stronger than a nail alone, making a safer walking surface for your crew while reducing blow-offs and creating an effective seal against moisture penetration. The other safety benefit of using NailPac is installing with a pneumatic cap nailer like the STINGER CN100B that allows you to maintain three points of contact on the roof while also speeding up installation.
While you had a tool demo refresher before getting on the roof, you'll also want to remember pneumatic tool safety tips whenever you use a cap nailer or nail gun. Dataforma highlights a few, like never pointing pneumatic tools like a cap nailer or nail gun at someone, only pulling the trigger when fastening, and always disconnecting your air supply while performing maintenance or reloading your tool.
4. Ensure the Safety of the Home When you follow the steps above to install safely and use the right products, you install the safest roof for the homeowner. For instance, using collated cap nails like NailPac to secure synthetic underlayment will protect the roof deck from weather damage and moisture problems down the road, long after your work is complete.
Code-compliant NailPac, in particular, was proven through independent testing to hold on in category 5 hurricane-sustained winds of 150 miles per hour with wind gusts up to 180 miles per hour. It's the only fastener of its kind to earn product approval from Florida's DBPR and why it's part of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety's (IBHS®) FORTIFIED Home™ program that ensures water will stay out of the house in the event of severe weather.
When it comes to protecting homes, it's all about what lies underneath. And when it comes to your crews running efficiently, their safety is the foundation. So this season, emphasize safety so your crew can confidently tackle more jobs and better protect more homes.