5 tips for safe roof snow removal

5 tips for safe roof snow removal


Every winter, many accidents occur during snow removal from roofs. Falls from heights, burial under the snow, discomfort caused by the cold or by intense physical efforts, individuals who do not take the necessary safety precautions can be exposed to very grave dangers.

Don’t let snow accumulate

One of the best practices for minimizing the risk of accidents when removing snow from a roof is to do it regularly. A regularly cleared roof means less snow to remove each time, and therefore, less physical and cardiovascular effort.

At the maximum of precipitation, the accumulation of snow on your roof should not exceed 70 cm.

Write or draw a snow action plan

It is essential to properly assess the risks before starting to remove snow from a roof. This evaluation allows you to identify hazardous factors beforehand. Here are the relevant elements to determine when evaluating the roof:

  • The buffer zone (a zone surrounding a minimum of 2 meters away from the parapets);
  • The protection area around the exit hatch;
  • The safety distance zone from power lines;
  • The snow dumping area on the roof (provide guardrails to prevent falls);
  • The snow dumping area on the ground (delimited with the help of signage to ensure pedestrian safety).

Also, the weight of the snow, equipment, and workers are factors to consider so to avoid a roof collapse. If in doubt, it is strongly suggested to call a structural engineer.

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Use the right tools

The use of a snowplow rather than a shovel to lift the load is highly recommended. This tool will reduce the physical effort required to complete the task.

It is very important to wear the proper clothing before getting involved in snow removal on a roof. Wearing good boots, warm clothes, a hat, mittens, and cleats will help prevent any risk of falling or frostbite.

It is also suggested to provide signs and signage elements that will help identify dangerous locations on the roof.

Listen to your body

Many injuries are caused by the added stress of snow removal on the heart and back. Always try to push the snow rather than lifting the load.

It is best not to do the snow removal on the roof alone and to have someone present in case of discomfort or injury.

Call professionals

The experts at SPI Health and Safety can assess your risks and your needs to ensure safe snow removal from the roof.

Do not hesitate to contact our team for your protective equipment, for the installation of railings or the delimitation of areas on the roof.

Do you need advice on snow removal on a roof? Contact an advisor from our team here! 450-420-2012