Before you venture up into the zone above your ceiling, keep some basic attic safety tips in mind. Most people don’t spend a lot of time in the attic and aren’t familiar with its hazards. At the time of construction, attics are generally left in a rough, unfinished state. A number of safety issues you’re never exposed to elsewhere in the house are common up there. Be prepared by familiarizing yourself with these attic safety guidelines.
- Dress for the occasion. Wear a long-sleeve shirt, long pants and gloves for protection against scrapes and splinters as well as contact with attic insulation. Also put on goggles to protect you eyes and wear a face mask to avoid inhaling airborne insulation fibers, dust and/or mold spores.
- Test the attic stairs. The fold-down attic access stairs in many homes are often unexpectedly wobbly. Make sure the stairs will hold your weight and are stable to climb.
- Wear headgear and stay low. In many attics, you’ll be crouched beneath the roof sheathing just overhead. Wear at least a heavy cap—a hard hat is better—and be aware that sharp nails and screws often protrude from the roof sheathing. Keep low and avoid bumping your head.
- Watch where you step. Most attics have walk-boards down the center. Stay on the boards and don’t step out on beds of insulation. Frequently, the only thing beneath the fluffy insulation is a thin gypsum ceiling board that will give way under your weight and cause serious fall injury into the room below. Also take care when stepping on trusses or ceiling joists: wooden structural components in attics may be weakened by dry rot and unsafe to support your full weight.
- Be aware of heat. Attic temperatures on a hot day can spike well above 125 degrees. Take frequent breaks downstairs and drink lots of liquids.
- Don’t disturb insects. Bees or wasps may inhabit attics. If you come across an active nest, don’t stir it up. Leave the attic and call an exterminator.
Ask the experienced pros at Rinaldi’s Energy Solutions for more good advice about attic safety.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Orlando, Florida and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
Credit/Copyright Attribution: “David Papazian/Shutterstock”