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Safely removing rooftop snow

Safely removing rooftop snow

Each year, after the winter holidays, the weather continues to ramp up in many parts of the US, as if paying a tribute to the white season. Some areas have already been conquered by the snow and ice blanket, but it doesn’t look like it will stop here; many other areas across the country will fall under the snow’s reign.

January and February are winter’s favorite months; snow and other precipitation are expected to rival last year’s record, so brace yourselves, winter will hit hard in the next period.

Heavy snowfall can be particularly dangerous and damaging for apartments. 2014 was a terrible year for many structures in Western New York where a record seven-foot snow caused almost $50 million in damage. Homes and businesses had roofs cave in from the weight of snow to such extend that the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) approved a federal disaster designation to help people get back on their feet.

Protecting buildings from heavy snow can be difficult and risky. People are killed or seriously injured while removing snow and ice from rooftops, decks and other building structures in order to prevent overloading or collapse.

It is best that you hire a professional to clean the roof of your property, as it is a dangerous task. The United States Department of Labor (USDL) has put together a guide on how to remove snow from residential and commercial buildings, trying to reduce the risk to a minimum. However, if you think you can do it yourself, be extremely careful and consider the following:

Snow removal without going on the roof

Whenever possible, avoid going up on the roof as the leading cause for most worker fatalities and injuries during rooftop snow removal are falls, according to OSHA. Instead, try to opt for one of the following:

  • Using ladders to apply de-icing materials
  • Using snow rakes or drag lines from the ground

If it’s impossible to remove the snow without going up on the roof, it’s essential to consider the load and its limit of the roof – the weight of the snow, workers and equipment used. There is no standard formula to determine how much snow a roof can withstand.

If you choose to use Aerial Lifts, make sure you do it in a safe manner with a properly trained person. Furthermore, the electrical hazards are also present through the power lines or even snow removal equipment. Remember that the minimum recommended distance from a power line is 10 feet. Exposure to cold can also be harmful to you and your helpers; it can cause frostbite and hypothermia.