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Flat Roof Snow Removal: How to Do It Safely

Discomfort caused by exerting yourself in cold temperatures, falls from heights, or getting buried under the snow—these are just some of the major risks posed to people who try to remove snow from their roofs without taking safety measures beforehand. How can flat roof snow removal be done safely? Here are our tips to protect yourself.

Entrust snow removal to companies with the appropriate equipment and experience

Removing snow from a roof is a risky operationboth for the people on the roof and those around itdue to the significant fall risks.

Besides the considerable fall risk, here are some other reasons to call on specialists:

  • They use the proper techniques to remove the snow from the roof without damaging its waterproof membrane; it is also recommended to leave a thin layer of snow on the roof to keep this membrane in good condition.
  • They have the equipment to work safely, without injuring themselves or others. In particular, they use guardrails and warning lines, which are essential pieces of equipment for any operation on a roof. Using this equipment, they will mark off a 2-m (6.56-ft.) area all the way around the roof from which the snow will not be removed;
  • They are able to establish safety perimeters around buildings to properly mark off the snow dumping area and prohibit access to it.

To choose your flat roof snow removal company properly, make sure that the company has the experience and the equipment to work safely according to industry standards!

When? At the start of the winter is the time for you to enter into a roof snow removal contract as a business owner. Don’t wait for the first snows to arrive; your roof must be prepared before the first snowfall. As soon as the accumulation of snow on the roof becomes significant, you should ask yourself when to remove the snow. Ask yourself the question: are there new snowfalls or rain showers in the forecast? If so, snow removal should be considered. At all times during the winter, you should also check for cracks that may be appearing in the interior walls, weakening of the beams or frame, doors that get stuck, water leaks, unusual cracks, etc.

If you want to handle this task yourself

If you don’t really want to call on professionals to remove the snow from your roof, we strongly recommend acting only from the ground. To do this, equip yourself with a plastic roof scraper with a telescopic handle to prevent the risks of roof damage. If your roof is flat, however, you won’t have any choice but to climb, and it will then be absolutely necessary to attach yourself properly. This safety rule is even more important when removing snow from a sloping roof. Choose a belt harness and secure yourself by connecting yourself to a sturdy anchor point with a very strong rope that is short enough in case of a fall. You should also still consider acquiring a guardrail—that is, a system for marking off the edges of the roof to minimize fall risks. Rest assured: adding a guardrail doesn’t require any anchoring in the roof, in addition to respecting all the applicable standards. It is therefore the safest and simplest solution for your flat roof.

Before taking action, remember to:

  • not let the snow accumulate and therefore act at the right time;
  • shovel as soon as possible after a heavy snowfall;
  • regularly check the thickness of the snow on the roof by observing it;
  • make sure not to remove all the snow: you can leave up to 15 cm on the roof without any problems;
  • even though roofs are built to withstand loads of snow during the winter, when the accumulations are exceptional, be more vigilant, of course!

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