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Under One Roof

Canadian Roofing Reference Manual

1.9.1 Safe Lifting Practices

When lifting materials size up the load and check overall conditions.

  • If the material appears to be too heavy or awkward, do not attempt to lift it alone.
  • Check to make sure there is adequate space for movement and good footing.
  • Check for obstructions such as roof curbs, piled materials or equipment.
  • Make sure that you have good balance. This can be accomplished by the following:
    • Place your feet shoulder width apart.
    • Place one foot beside the object to be lifted and the other foot behind the object.
    • Keeping your back straight, bend your knees and grip the object with the palms of your hands and the fingers. Tuck in your chin to help straighten your back. Lift with your legs – not with your back – keep head up. Also, keep your arms close to your body while lifting the load.
    • When walking with a load, keep your head pointed straight ahead. Do not twist your body. To turn, shift your foot and turn your whole body.
    • Set the load down by bending the knees keeping the back straight again. To set the load on a shelf or table, put it on the edge of the table and slide it into position. Do not stoop.
  • Try and grip the load with palms of hands and the fingers. The grip taken with the palm is much more secure. Use body weight to start the load moving and then lift by pushing up with the legs, making full use of this strong set of muscles.  Handling Hot Asphalt Bitumen

Be very careful when handling hot bitumen, as it is extremely hot (over 204°C (400°F)) and will cause severe burns.

  • Always wear proper clothing (long sleeved shirt, gloves, etc.) and personal protective equipment when handling hot bitumen.
  • Never overfill buckets or carriers.
  • On flat roofs, carry two half-full buckets.
  • On sloped roofs, carry only one half-full container on the downhill slope.
  • Watch for the buckets on the roof. When taking the bucket off the hoist line, place it far enough back so you won’t trip over it.
  • Never carry containers of hot bitumen up a ladder.
  • Never lift a container of hot bitumen above the hip level, when carrying it.
  • If the bucket is stuck to the roof, pry it loose, or turn bucket in a circular motion. Never try to jerk it loose.
  • Be very careful when opening any valves or spigots. On windy days, hot bitumen can blow around.
  • Avoid walking on hot bitumen. When hot, it is very slippery. When cool it can be very sticky, causing you to trip.
  • Keep all equipment, especially buckets, in good condition. Broken handles and breaking or leaking buckets can cause burns.
  • Always make sure all hot buckets (hot pails) are equipped with safety handles.