The winter of 2018 has seen periods of intense cold, snowstorms with heavy accumulation, and multiple freeze/thaw cycles. Loads of snow and ice that have built up on roofs can weaken their structures. Obviously, it’s essential to take the necessary means to preserve the integrity of roofs on houses, apartments and commercial buildings. That said, what are the risks involved in rooftop snow removal? And, more important, how should you go about it?
Risks involved in removing snow from a roof
Conditions outdoors, which can be extreme, and the physical effort required to remove snow from a roof, can be hard on the body. Besides the dangers of electrocution, hypothermia and frostbite, you should be aware that this activity can also be a cause of heart problems and muscle injury. What’s more, on top of the health risks, snow removal is an operation that requires planning and a specific, methodical approach, because of the danger of fall or burial. So the question is: what’s the best way to proceed to reduce these risks?
Whether you have a sloped or flat roof, or own a single-family home, duplex, triplex or commercial building, there are risks related to rooftop snow removal. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that you entrust the job to a company specialized in roof maintenance. These professionals have the required equipment to work safely: harnesses, lanyard no longer than 1.8 m, energy absorbers fastened to an anchor point with a minimum resistance of 18 kN, and lift platforms. With their experience and know-how, they work methodically. And, as the Régie du Bâtiment du Québec (RBQ) advises, hiring these specialists reduces the risk of damage to your roof covering’s waterproof membrane, gutters, or drain. If you do decide to remove snow from your roof yourself, be sure to work from the ground using a telescoping roof rake to reduce fall risk.
In conclusion, to optimize your roof’s lifespan, proper maintenance (which includes snow removal) is essential. In view of the risks to your health and safety, however, the RBQ recommends entrusting the work to a professional.