Depending on material, building roofs typically last about 15 years. When a business or house needs a new roof, you use your knowledge, skills and tools to deliver professional-grade results. Unfortunately, though, roofing is not a risk-free activity. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roofing contractors have a work fatality rate of more than 10 times that of other workers. Here are the four biggest work-related health risks roofers routinely encounter. 

1. Falls 

Falls are perhaps the biggest risk roofers face. After all, to perform your job duties, you must be on top of a building. If you trip or slip, you may plummet a considerable distance. While some falls cause traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, internal bleeding or even paralysis, others are deadly. Accordingly, when working above the ground, you must always use a safety harness or another appropriate restraint. 

2. Electrocution 

Electrical lines often run near or across buildings. If you are not careful, you may entangle yourself with a live wire. As electricity passes through your body looking for a ground, you may suffer serious burns, organ failure or other substantial injuries. 

3. Repetitive stress injuries 

Roofing often requires making the same movements repeatedly. When removing shingles, installing roofing materials or climbing ladders, you may sustain a repetitive stress injury. If you have one, you may experience muscular pain, weakness or loss of motion. Arms, shoulders, hands, fingers and wrists are common places for roofers to experience repetitive stress injuries. 

4. Heatstroke 

It can be difficult to do roofing jobs during cold winter months. While you may make up for lost time during June, July, August and September, you must recognize the risk of heatstroke. This condition happens when ambient heat causes the body’s temperature to climb above 104 degrees. If you do not receive emergency medical care for heatstroke, you may sustain permanent damage to your heart, muscles, brain and kidneys. 

There is nothing wrong with breaking a sweat at work. Still, if you develop heat stroke or suffer another serious injury at work, workers’ compensation benefits may help you manage your recovery process.