A Roof Safety Checklist for Building Owners

A Roof Safety Checklist for Building Owners


If you own a building and that building has a roof (and chances are it does), then roof safety should be a top priority. A responsible building owner will always have in place the appropriate safety measures for whoever will be up on the roof at any point—employees, residents, contractors—as well as those on the ground below. Some things to consider:

Who will have access to the roof?

Be aware of who will be on your roof at all times. If a contractor of any kind will be working on your roof, know what they’ll be doing and make sure they know how to do it safely. A seasoned roofing contractor will be thoroughly trained in how to work safely at heights. Mechanical contractors and other professionals who regularly work on roofs should have similar training. Non-professionals, however, will not. Roof access should only be granted if it is safe for individuals to be there. Otherwise, limit access to trained professionals.

Is the roof equipped for safety?

If employees or residents will be on the roof for any reason, including for storm damage checks or informal roof inspections, they should know how to move about safely, and the roof should be equipped appropriately. If your building has a rooftop garden or gathering space, make certain that guardrails of the correct height are in place.  Minimize slip and fall hazards and check the roof regularly for damage or debris that might pose a safety risk, especially following a storm. And if a storm is coming, secure anything that might blow off the roof and fall to the ground below.

Are all contractors using appropriate safety equipment?

Anyone working at a height of more than six feet is required by OSHA to use fall protection equipment. The proper equipment depends upon the type of roof you have, but can include flags around the roof perimeter, a guardrail system, or even an anchor and harness for those working near unprotected roof edges. This equipment and training in the correct way to use it are essential. A responsible contractor will ensure that all individuals working on a roof have both. Ask your contractor how they approach safety on a job site and make sure they follow through.

Is the contractor on your roof bonded and insured?

Rooftop work of any kind poses some risk, even with the appropriate safety measures in place. A reliable contractor will carry worker’s compensation insurance with general liability as well as additional insurance to protect you from being liable in the event of a job-site accident. Accidents are always possible. Be proactive: Ask to see proof of insurance and protect yourself.

Are you prioritizing preventative maintenance?

The best way to keep your roof safe is to maintain it well. Just as you would with your car to keep it running properly, schedule regular inspections and preventative maintenance service for your roof. A professional roofing contractor will identify any existing or potential issues and address them appropriately, keeping your roof safe and working as it should.

A well-functioning roof will protect the building, people, and products below it. A responsible building owner will take the necessary steps to ensure that the roof can do just that, and will also provide a safe environment on the roof surface for anyone who sets foot on it. You’ll never regret making safety a priority, and the people who access your roof will thank you.


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