Roofers perform a variety of physically strenuous and occasionally dangerous tasks. Roofing as a profession is less affected by the economy because, even when new construction slows, repair and maintenance of roofs is still in demand. Those in the roofing trade usually serve an apprenticeship or undergo on-the-job training to learn skills. Roofers must have knowledge of materials, procedures and regulations related to roofing.
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Roofing Knowledge and Abilities
A roofer's main responsibility is to learn as much as possible about the equipment, tools, methods and materials used for installing and repairing roofs. Safety knowledge is crucial. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that "full-time roofers experienced a work-related injury and illness rate that was much higher than the national average." Roofers should also know about the assorted roofing materials and standards regarding which materials work on different types of roofs. They must know how to install and remove roofs as well as how to repair them. They will need experience in setting up the scaffolding and ladders necessary to access the roofs. Some roofers are responsible for supervising others. Instructions are given in written and oral formats, so roofers should be comfortable with either. Some of the tools roofers use and should familiarise themselves with include knives, mops, hammers, brushes, caulking guns and power fastening machines. Metal-working experience is also helpful for roofers who work with metal roofing.
Roofing is a physically demanding job. Roofers are responsible for maintaining themselves in good physical shape. Roofing apprentices must be least 18 years old in most cases. Roofers need strength and good balance and can't be afraid of working at heights.
Roofers must lift, climb, bend and kneel. Roofing work takes place outdoors in heat and cold. However, if the weather is rainy or icy, roofers generally do not work because of the danger of slipping. Most roofers will work long hours during the summer and fewer--if any--hours during the winter. Summer months bring the risk of heat-related illnesses for workers. Falls or burns are a constant threat. Roofers must always be aware of and follow safety procedures, as these have been shown to drastically reduce the risk of injury and illness.
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