It’s official: Winter is in full swing. Lame, right? (Unless you’re one of those snow lovers.) It’s dark, it’s cold and there’s brown, slushy snow everywhere. One of the biggest problems that a winter “wonderland” can bring is roofing damage for homeowners. While broken shingles may cost a few votes for nicest house on the block, some of these issues can’t wait until the ice thaws.
This means your crew has to brave cold temperatures, high winds and, oh yeah, snow. The best way to keep them safe and happy (well, as happy as anyone can be in freezing weather) is to help them be ready. Here are some pointers on how to make sure your crew members are comfortable and prepared.
Avoiding Bad Falls
No one likes a trip to the emergency room. High copays, hours of waiting, insurance forms – it’s all just a huge headache. To avoid accidents, your crew should know how to navigate icy conditions.
Surprisingly, most of the worst falls happen before anyone is even on the roof. Ladders are considered the biggest culprit of winter season roofing accidents.
The first thing to do is to check that the ladder is free of any ice. This will help your crew members not lose their grip or footing.
The other thing to do is make sure they are practicing the “three-point rule.” The rule is that any roofer should have at least two hands and one foot or one hand and two feet on the ladder at all times during the winter. This prevents any painful, and costly, falls.
Ladders may be the cause of a lot of accidents, but let’s not forget how ice and snow can impact balance and footing. Roofers should still practice the same safety measures with harnesses and temporary guardrails they use during any other season.
Ice and Snow Removal
De-icing and snow removal is a much bigger job than shoveling the driveway. Honestly, it is probably the biggest pain for roofers, but it is the most important when it comes to safety. It’s also essential for getting the job done.
The first thing to remember when removing any snow or ice is not to rush. The removal process is definitely one that calls for patience. If you rush through de-icing or miss a section of snow, it can increase the risk for someone to slip. Using tools like snow rakes, shovels and salt will help speed up the process without compromising accuracy.
It’s also super important to ask the homeowner if they have any skylights or any kind of openings before starting removal. As a homeowner, you wouldn’t want to be going about your business and the next thing you know there are an extra pair of legs dangling from the ceiling. This will save your crew and the homeowner an awkward introduction, as well as a possible injury.
Navigating Road Conditions
It’s no secret that driving in the winter is a, for lack of a better word, nightmare. This goes for all drivers. But it can be a different ( and more dangerous) experience for roofing contractors. Driving large trucks, navigating unfamiliar roads – it can be extra stress on your crew.
One thing to remind your team is not to rush. Driving too fast to make their appointment right on the dot is a surefire way to get into an accident. Reassure everyone that while it’s important to get to the job in a timely manner, their safety is more important.
Many leading roofing companies have credited defensive driving courses as a way for their crews to feel more secure when driving in nasty conditions. The courses can teach your crew different winter driving techniques and build confidence on the roads. The best part? It actually provides an insurance break for you.
Keeping your crew safe doesn’t just give you peace of mind (as well as saving you workers’ comp), but it also builds trust with homeowners. Knowing your crew doesn’t have a track record of falling off roofs and can handle winter conditions can make you the go-to roofing business for the season. Prep your crew for the harsh weather and build your business at the same time.