Shop Talk: Residential Roof Work

Shop Talk: Residential Roof Work

​What will we do today to prevent an incident?

a worker falling from a ladder that was leaning against the side of a house.
Roof work is when roofing material is repaired, applied to or removed from a building or structure. Residential roof work focuses on the use of shingles and roofs with various slopes (pitches).

What's the hazard?


​When doing any work at heights the biggest and most severe hazard is falling, including falling over edges, through openings or off ladders.

What can happen?


As part of the day’s roof work, Chris started prepping the east side of a house. To gain access to the roof, Chris used a ladder. As he was halfway up the ladder, it became unstable and Chris fell, landing on the ground. Unbeknownst to Chris, and prior to the fall, the ladder was used elsewhere and was not returned to a safe position against the house.

Based on the scenario above, here are some questions that could be used to spark discussion:

  1. How could this have been avoided?
  2. Is there an access plan for the projects you work at?

What precautions can be taken to prevent roof work injuries?


There are a variety of hazards associated with roof work that are present every day and at every job site. To help protect yourself and others, you should conduct frequent pre-job risk assessments and develop safe work procedures to ensure controls and strategies are in place to address hazards.

Ladder use

You must develop safe work procedures for the use of ladders. Procedures must include the following considerations:
  • Ladders must be appropriate for the job task.
  • Ladders must be inspected before each use.
  • Ladders must be placed on a firm surface, and must be level and secure.
  • Workers must ensure they keep three points of contact when on a ladder.

Fall protection

Fall protection is required when working at heights of 3 metres (10 feet) or more, or at heights less than 3 metres if working near a dangerous area. Full fall protection systems are required on all roof work (guardrails, travel restraint, fall arrest or safety net).

All workers must be trained and follow safe work procedures related to fall prevention.

Other hazards

The following hazards should also be considered when conducting pre-job risk assessments and developing safe work procedures:
  • environmental hazards, including heat, weather or biological factors

  • musculoskeletal hazards related to materials handling, awkward postures and improper lifting

  • health hazards, including chemical exposures

  • fire hazards, including products, materials and equipment

  • electrical hazards, including working near overhead power lines and the use of cords

  • hazards related to working in isolation, geographical location or physical location (access)

  • hazards related to housekeeping

  • hazards related to working around the public and job site set-up

  • hazards related to equipment set-up, storage and use.

Other resources:


Some additional SAFE Work Manitoba resources related to residential roof work include the Fall Protection Guide, the Fall Protection brochure, Shop Talk: Ladder Safety and Ladder Summary​.

Share your ideas! If you have an idea for Shop Talk that you think others would benefit from, we’d like to hear about it. Email us: information@safeworkmanitoba.ca.

For more information: 204-957-SAFE (7233) or toll-free 1-855-957-SAFE (7233).


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