Three Serious Illnesses You Can Get From Roofing Repair Work And Bare Hands

As a roofer, you work with some very rough and sharp materials. There are dangers present from removing old roofing that you probably never heard of or though about. Doing your job bare-handed, i.e., without protective gloves, can lead to at least three known illnesses. If you do not take precautionary measures, you might have to visit your doctor or an emergency room during the course of your employment.


Tetanus, or lockjaw, is an autoimmune response to the injection of rusty metal. Scratches and punctures from rusty nails can be common in your line of work. If you have not had a tetanus booster vaccination in the last ten years, your body will respond quickly to the introduction of rust. Your jaw will begin to tighten and close, locking it shut. People used to die from lockjaw, but now you can wait out the disease by eating and drinking liquified nutrition and water. If you get to the emergency room or your doctor soon enough, the doctor may be able to give you a shot to stop the progression of tetanus/lockjaw.

Bird and Animal Feces

Birds alight and rest on many roofs, taking their time to defecate. Animals such as squirrels and raccoons also meander across a roof, excreting as they go. The problem is that all of these creatures carry disease and parasites which transfers to their fecal matter. When you repair a roof and pull down old shingles with your bare hands, you are coming into contact with infected bird and animal feces. If you are not very thorough with washing your hands before you break for lunch, all of that nastiness ends up in you. Can you say, gastroenteritis

Asbestos Poisoning

Really old homes that have not had the roof replaced in a few decades may have asbestos in their synthetic slate roof shingles. Asbestos in shingles is no less dangerous than it is in old insulation. When you inhale particles of this carcinogen, presumably after touching the shingles and rubbing your nose, mouth and/or face, your lungs are taken over by cancer or mesothelioma. Protect both your hands and face with gloves and a mask if there is a chance that the slate roof repair you are performing contains asbestos.

Do Not Learn the Hard Way

Avoiding work gloves and protective equipment is just not smart. If you were to get injured or sick, you would have no case for worker's compensation because you exposed your own hands to the dangers in your job. Play it safe and never work bare-handed.