My Top 11 Rooftop Hazards. (Updated!)

Hello wireless field workers!

It’s time we go over some common rooftop hazards, specifically high rises but this could be on any building rooftop.

Updated: If you would rather listen, here you go, listen here.

1)      Poorly marked hazards – this would include missing high voltage signs or missing RF Radiation signs. All common risks on the rooftop that should be clearly marked. Sometimes there is a large cooling unit that you should stay clear of unless your antenna is mounted to it.

2)      Missing safety rails around the rooftops edge – not all buildings have safety rails, but if they do then you expect all around the roof. So be aware of what is around the edge. Walk the rooftop first so you understand where the open areas are. The safety rail might only cover part of the roof or may be in very poor condition. Pay attention!

3)      Poor weather conditions – what I mean by this is when you are on a roof it could be icy and windy. This is common when on a roof, and you have to walk over the ice. Wet roof tops can be slippery and if you start to slide on a sloped roof, you have problems! Oh, don’t’ forget the heat, you may be on a roof with no shade. You will need water and to stay cool. Hot and cold can hurt you! If you get heat stroke you tend to do stupid things or could lose consciousness. Let’s not forget snow! Snow adds weight to the roof and hides all of the hazards. Rain makes us hurry around forgetting to look where we are going. Lightning is also something that may strike you dead. Be smart!

4)      Electrical wiring – often times there are air conditioning units everywhere. They often get worked on. I have seen more exposed wiring on roof tops than almost anywhere. I think it’s because no one goes out there unless they have to. So just be aware that a wire could be sticking out and if you rub against it then you will jump when it bites you.

5)      Falling – Be aware of the edge! I know, this seems like common sense, but do you know where the edge is? Are you tied off near the edge? It is a good idea to make use your harness is tied to a secure point if you are within 6’ of the edge of the roof. If there is no safety rail you should tie off for safety’s sake.

6)      Sharp objects – there are often sharp objects or beams or loose bricks sticking out on a rooftop. You may or may not need your helmet. Make sure you do a site walk and identify the hazards ahead of time.

7)      Holes – maybe this doesn’t make sense, I mean these are business buildings for the most part, and yet they have holes in them. Some have overhangs that extend beyond the normal building and I have seen openings that people could fall through. Just be alert and make a note of all openings. Sometimes there is only a half roof on the roof where the cooler could be. They often put privacy walls on the roof tops where you could mount on top. Just look around when walking up there.

8)      RF Radiation – here you go, you’re on a roof top where most of the RF is within 30’ of you vertically. Think about it, it may only be 10′ to 20’ over your head and 20′ away from you. Your body will be  feeling the full effect of whatever is up there. Does it feel warm now? Maybe you need to put that RF Alert meter back on!

9)      Trip hazards – you heard me! Think of all the crap to look down for, drain covers, sky lights, stink pipes, and electrical boxes all sticking up from the roof top. All these things can be a hazard if you don’t pay attention to where you are going. Keep your eyes open and be alert.

10)   Crazy people – I did work on the roof tops of several Atlantic City Casinos, and it pays to be well aware of who is up there with you. When someone wants to jump, they generally look for the highest and easiest accessible place to go. So make sure you lock the door behind you. It pays to be careful, safe, and secure. If you have ever worked in a rough neighborhood at night, you know that leaving the building may be just as risky as being on the roof. I think most of us have had our vehicles broken into at some point, just imagine that crazy person on the roof with you. Be smart and safe.

11)   Stupidity – yes, this is usually the #1 reason people get hurt. They don’t do a survey before they work, they don’t recognize the simple things like the pitch of the roof, the ice on the roof, or where the edge is. They walk backwards pulling that rope and trip over the edge. Some guys like to joke around and they slip. The roof could be a split level and someone just didn’t pay attention. Also remember to stay hydrated while working on a rooftop! So many people just forget to take water and food with them when they may be up there all day. Another thing, remember when you are cutting something, like Vapor seal or tape, to cut away from your body and not towards your body. I know so many people that got stitches, (one guy lost an eye), just because they cut towards their body and not away. Is that stupid? Have you ever done it? What is the first thing you think if you cut yourself? Boy was that stupid!

My new book is here, I created a worker’s aid so you would have a reference along with you in the field. Your internet may or may not work so make sure you either print this out or have it on your laptop. I think you need to make sure you are prepared. If you get it, please let me know what you think.

Let me know what you’re struggling with and let me see if I can help.

If you are thinking of entering the tower climbing field, read this first, .


Feel free to leave comments or reach me on Facebook.

(Twitter @Wade4Wireless)

OSHA has a heat safety app,

In case you wonder why I went to 11, it’s because I was a fan of Spinal Tapthis will explain it all!

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