Many homeowners are comfortable checking and repairing shingles on the roof. But far too many accidents happen because people fail to think about safety before they climb up on the roof. The pitch of roofs can vary widely from one part of the country to another. For example, people who live in dry regions might have a flat roof. People who live in moderate climates might have a slightly pitched roof. But people who live in cold and wet regions will probably have more steeply pitched roofs.
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The main reason for a pitched roof is to provide an easy way to prevent snow from accumulating deep enough to have the weight of the snow damage the roof. Several inches of snow and ice places stress on the roof. The purpose of the steeply pitched roof is to allow the snow and sleet to slide off the roof. 
Taking safety precautions, especially when working on a steeply pitched roof, will prevent serious injury or death. Following these safety tips will help you stay safe while inspecting or working on a roof.
  • Never try to work on a wet roof. Moisture makes a slippery surface even more dangerous.
  • Always wear safety glasses when doing any kind of construction to prevent injury to your eyes. Contractor Selection Workbook
  • Always wear a helmet when working on a roof. It will protect your head from any flying debris and prevent more serious injury to your head if you fall.
  • Keep your work area as clean of debris as possible. Nails, unattached shingles or pieces of wood, or even nails can create a very slippery surface. Brushing off the area frequently will reduce the danger.
  • When you move around on the roof, always keep your eyes on the area under your feet. Electrical cords, tools, supplies and discarded clothing can cause you to trip and fall.
  • Always wear shoes or boots that offer good traction. This will help to reduce your risk of slipping.
  • If you are working on a steeply pitched roof, wear a safety harness and use a reliable rope to tie yourself to something sufficiently sturdy. This can either prevent a fall or reduce the distance you will fall. Remember that the farther you fall, the harder you fall.
  • You can also prevent slips and falls by attaching a 2×4 temporarily to support your feet. The 2×4 is simply nailed to the sheathing and used to keep your feet from slipping on a steeply pitched roof. You will probably only need 2 or 3 boards that you move as you work your way across and up the roof.
  • Be careful to install roof sheathing with the rough side up. This will give you better traction.
Attention to safety and using safety equipment is important with any remodeling work. There is greater risk of serious injury when working on a roof. Follow these tips to insure your safety when you work on your roof.