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Do you use a safety harness on your roof?

Post in 'The Gear' started by pulldownclaw, Oct 6, 2008.

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  1. pulldownclaw

    pulldownclaw Feeling the Heat

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    I've borrowed a friends rock climbing harness when I installed my liner, but was thinking of buying my own. My roof isn't very steep where the chimney is, but since it's an exterior chimney, it's a long way down over the edge on my 2 story house. What do you guys use, if anything while on your roof, and where did you buy it? The safety harnesses look pretty expensive....I know, how can you put a price on safety?

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  2. ScottF

    ScottF New Member

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    I always use a regular construction type safety harness. I am just not as comfortable working at heights without one on. I just feel a lot more confident working at heights knowing that I cannot fall that far if I do slip or make a wrong move. I dont remember where I purchased it but it was a catalog company that sold just safety equipment for the construction industry. You can find them online. To me its one of those situations that it doesnt matter about cost. It is a lot less expensive than all the medical costs or the cost of a funeral.
  3. kevin j

    kevin j Minister of Fire

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    I bought a rock climbing harness from REI to do my roof consturction which was about 45 degree pitch.
    Very light and cheaper than a tree or consturction harness. But it is narrow webbing, for protection only, not a saddle to sit in for tree work.

    I have used it a dozen times in a tree, but only for fall protection when in the tree, not free climbing on a rope. That is way beyond my skills or body ability.
    I do not use it to clean the chinmey, because I would have to free climb up there anyway before setting a rope, and once there I work from the flatter adjoining roof so don't really need the harness.

    Generally I take the approach if a $100 tool gives mroe safety or more confidence, it may be unecessary but is worth the money just for peace of mind.

    k
  4. pulldownclaw

    pulldownclaw Feeling the Heat

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    Do you guys tie off to the chimney itself, or something else? When I did my install I just tied a big loop around the chimney with just a little bit of slack, then clipped it onto the harness. I'm sure I didn't do it the exact right way, but it did make me feel a whole lot safer than not having anything.
  5. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    I use a tree stand harness when I paint the peaks of the house...and yes if I cleaned the chimney I wear one. The thing with ropes is that they can leave you hanging upside down or cut of circulation.
  6. BJ64

    BJ64 Minister of Fire

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    I have to use a safety harness at work. Ours are required to have a type of "shock absorber" on the tie-off line. I think it may just be a short bungee. What ever it is, it is sewed into a protective thingy that is supposed to come open in case of a fall. If you think about it, hitting the end of a 6 foot tie off line would be quite a jolt.

    You might find one of these at a pawn shop since companies like ours requires them to be replaced every year even though the manual for them states they are good for 5 years from the date found on the tag. They are supposed to go into the trash, but I know many make to to the local pawn shops.

    I have never used one, but I am told that regular work harnesses have a solid tie off so a person can actually hang from the tie off.
  7. wally

    wally New Member

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    i will admit that i don't use a harness when i clean my chimney. my house is a two-story, with a steel roof, 12/12 pitch. i use a ladder/hook over the peak of the roof, and clean the chimney while on the ladder. the chimney is about 8 inches to one side of the peak, in the middle of the house (rather than being at the edge of the roof).

    i am very concious about where i am and what i am doing while up on the roof. if i lose a grip on a tool/brush/rod etc, i just let it drop, and then go down and pick it up. i have painted the entire roof, using the ladder/hook combo. straddle the peak, firmly grip ladder, shift to next section.

    probably not for everyone, although i'm not uncomfortable working up there.
  8. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Are these hooks an add-on to a ladder you can buy?
  9. wally

    wally New Member

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    yes. many hardware stores carry them. they clamp to the top two rungs of the ladder, and the "hook" drapes over the peak of the roof, securing the ladder from sliding down. the ladder could move side-to-side if you really tried hard.

    the "hooks" that are sold now have a small caster wheel on the "up" side, which i guess aids in getting the assembly up to the peak, then flip it over. probably prevents the roof from being gouged by the ladder when getting it over.
  10. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Well I think I may get me one of those hooks and start cleaning my own chimney then...thanks for the heads up.
  11. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I've got a metal roof, but I clean the insert from below.
    My goal is never to set foot on that roof, but who knows.
    The screws might need to be replaced at some point I guess.
  12. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Can't see the need for a true harness in my case when I have to go up there. All I do is park the most convenient truck or car on hand sitting on the other side of the roof then toss a line from the bumper or whatever up and over the house. I just keep it either wrapped around or where I can grab it if needed.
  13. Cluttermagnet

    Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire

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    From lessons learned in the radio tower industry- a full harness is required. The type with shoulder straps. Otherwise, if you go inverted, and happen to have skinny hips, you can slip right through that waist belt and out of the harness. Gotta have shoulder straps.

    As for my roof, shallow pitched on a single story rambler, with a very short chimney in the middle- I don't bother with a harness. But yes, I am darned careful and deliberate with everything I do up there.
  14. DaveBP

    DaveBP Minister of Fire

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    Anytime I'm working where gravity might call my bluff I put on my 20 year old sailing harness. Not OSHA compliant, no. But rugged and simple, yes. It saved my tired soaked body when a wave washed over the sailboat I was steering in a gale and caught me midair and kept me in the cockpit. So I know where its loyalties lie. I trust it to lean out on without hands if the tether is around something solid. This would not be approved of on any jobsite but I built my tall house on a hillside where there were some 28 ft. falls to be had and work solo a lot.
    I'm sure the real fall protection systems are better, especially if you do a freefall, but I use what I have and trust.
  15. burntime

    burntime New Member

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    C'mon hunting season!
    No harness, I just hope like heck that I don't take the plunge!
  16. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    I was waiting for someone to post this idea. Make sure you take the keys out of the vehicle. I don't know how long ago this happened(maybe 5 yrs ago), but a guy was up on his roof, ties off to the pickup and the wife jumped in the pick up and drove off. It was definatly an "Oh sh1t" moment! I believe the guy lived. I think this was in east mill or millinoket. Steam man is from that area I think. Maybe he's got some more info.
    I have to agree with a couple of posts above, if you're going to wear a harness, don't use a waist belt. I suppose its better than nothing, but they're not the really all that safe.
  17. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Yeah I agree with you...my tree stand harness is like that, you step into it with both legs, put both arms through then lock it up around your waist. The safety rope tie off is located on the upper part of your back. So that's like 5 points of contact...4 more than our space drifting astronauts...but they don't have to worry about gravity.
  18. Lasher

    Lasher New Member

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    Here is link to how I installed and clean my chimney. The pics show the set up I use...

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/14389/

    I just cleaned my chimney this past weekend. It took about 2 hours from start to finish. Most of the time was setting up the stand I made for the roof and taking it back down. But I have not worries about safety, since when I am up there it is like I am on the garage floor. Climbing from the ladder against the house to the ladder (with hooks) on the roof is simple and easy.
  19. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Around my place across my back yard that would be considered a deer stand. In our case they are safe because we don't eat them though they do a job on our fences crashing through them from time to time. In other places that might be considered a watch tower for the " Compound".
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