If you need to remove snow from a roof, use caution. Falls from roofs or from ladders going to the roof can easily occur. Removing snow can allow the snow up slope to suddenly slide down, burying people or animals below. Using a roof rake from a safe distance away can reduce some of this risk to the person removing the snow.
Some precautions to take when removing snow from a roof:
- In uninsulated sheds, use a portable heater to warm the interior enough to encourage snow to slide off the roof so you don’t have to manually remove it. Unvented heaters can cause oxygen depletion and carbon monoxide accumulation in an unventilated space. Plan to ventilate the warmed shed before reentering.
- Use a snow roof rake if at all possible. This allows you to stand on the ground in a safe place. Check the local hardware store or building supply store. Removing snow from the edge of the roof could allow snow above the edge to avalanche. Make sure you are out of the fall zone when scraping snow from a smooth roof surface.
- Use fall protection equipment when workers are on the roof. Tie workers off so they don’t fall from the roof.
- If ladders are used, locate and secure them so they do not fall while workers are standing on them. Also, locate ladders so they do not fall if snow slides off the roof knocking workers off the ladder or leaving them stranded on the roof.
- Generally remove snow from the most heavily loaded areas first.
- Remove snow in narrow strips instead of large areas to help keep loading somewhat uniform.
- Don’t pile removed snow onto snow-covered roof areas increasing the load in those areas.
- Use plastic shovels or wooden roof rakes to avoid damaging roofing material.
- Don’t feel as if all snow must be removed. A layer of snow next to the roof surface can protect the surface from damage during the snow removal process.
- Do not pick or chip at ice near the roof surface to avoid damaging roofing material.
- Do not use snow blowers as they can damage the roof.
Source: University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension