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Is There a Safe Way to Hang Christmas Lights From the Roof?

December 12, 2012 Electrical Safety, Fall Protection
christmas lights, Fall Protection, Fall Safety, hanging lights

Christmas Lights

Lots of homeowners will be pulling the ladders out to get their lights up this year. But we’d like to focus our attention on the roof guys. If you are planning on getting onto your roof to install Christmas lights, here are a few things you should keep in mind.

First, don’t be cavalier about this job. It can change your holiday plans in a hurry. One misstep can land you in the emergency room or worse. Last year the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported over 12,000 trips to the hospital for folks who were working on their holiday lights and decorations.

The obvious worry for folks working on their roof is falling. Depending on the type and pitch of a roof, there may be several different fall safety options. All of them involve a full body harness. Harnesses don’t have to be expensive. Since you aren’t going to be using a holiday lights harness every day, a simple 5-point harness like the Capital Safety Protecta AB17530 Back D Harness provides fall protection at an affordable price.

If you don’t have a heavy-duty beam to attach to, you still have options for fall protection. One idea is to use a vertical lifeline. The one we have linked here is fairly complex, but the basic idea is to heave a line over the house. Then connect the lifeline, and pull it over. Secure the far end to a tree or a truck – anything that will hold a really heavy load – and once it’s over the peak of the house, you have a pretty decent vertical fall safety set-up if you connect a Miller Rope Grab with Lanyard. Of course, you’ll need to read your instructions carefully to make sure your specific roof and structure will work with this rig.

If you don’t want to be rigging and re-rigging a vertical line, or if you can’t reach all the spots you need to safety, you might want to consider a permanent roof anchor. Next time you have work done on your roof, these are a great idea to have installed. They give you a solid attachment point for a number of risky roof projects.

Holiday Lights

With a permanent roof anchor you can hook up your simple lifeline, harness, rope grab, and lanyard combo any time you have a roof work, need to clear your gutters or put up and take down lights. Heck, you could even buy the inexpensive Roofers’ Fall Protection Kit from Protecta. The kit includes everything you need (plus a temporary roof anchor which you could use while installing the permanent one!) for light installation safety.

There is only one way to install holiday lights on your house without any of this gear and still be completely safe. The energy drain is minimal, no bulbs will burn out, and there is not a chance you will fall from your roof or ladder. Of course, nobody will be able to see them since you will be photoshopping them in.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone.

Be safe so you can stay merry.

Thanks for reading!