According to a report by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, doctors treated more than 532,000 people for ladder-related injuries in 2007. With statistics like these, it's no wonder people get a little dizzy at the thought of walking on the roof. By following some simple safety guidelines, you'll be able to climb on and off your roof without adding to the injury statistics.
Put on a pair of well-fitting shoes with rubber soles. Tie the laces securely so you won't trip over them later.
Check the ladder's maximum weight. This information should be listed on a sticker somewhere on the ladder. Avoid using a ladder if you exceed the weight listed.
Inspect the ladder for any loose or broken pieces. Never try to use a broken ladder. Check the rails and rungs for oil, grease, mud or other slippery substances.
Find a solid, level place for the ladder. If possible, place the feet of the ladder on dirt or grass instead of concrete. Before you stand the ladder up, check to make sure the top rails will not come close to any electrical wires or otherwise dangerous areas.
Angle the ladder so that there is 1 foot between the base of the ladder and the wall for every 4 vertical feet. If you have an extension ladder, check the locks before you set it up to make sure they are secure. The ladder should extend three rungs above the roof for safe transitioning.
Face the ladder and grip the side rails with both hands. Carefully step onto the first rang. As you ascend, always maintain three points of contact with the ladder (two feet and one hand or vice versa).
Keep your feet in the centre of each rang. Avoid leaning to the side or "walking" the ladder to move to a new place. Never climb on the top three rungs of a ladder.
Test the roof with your hand to see if it feels slippery. Check for any surrounding mould, algae or water that will prevent your shoes from gripping the surface. If it feels slick, wait for another time.
Step carefully onto the roof, shifting your weight slowly away from the ladder. Remain in a crouched or crawling position to help maintain your balance.
Crawl or slide several feet away from the edge of the roof. When you are a comfortable distance from the edge, stand carefully to your feet. Feel free to grasp any nearby pipes, vents or other projections to help steady yourself. However, bear in mind that these objects may not support your full weight.
Test your footing before you take each step. If you start to slide, drop quickly onto the surface rather than staying on your feet.
Slide back to the edge of the roof when you are ready to come down. Descend the ladder the same way you went up, maintaining three points of contact at all times.