Being on top of a house is dangerous enough, but there are some situations that roofers encounter that can be deadly. One of those hazards is a rotted roof and an attic full of bats.
Bats sleep during the day, and if disturbed, they head for the nearest exit. In the case of a roofer tearing off sheathing, this may be the hole they just opened in the roof. Imagine standing on a two-story roof, 25 to 30 feet above the ground, and having hundreds of bats suddenly flying out at you. Since bats are nearly blind and their sonar won't really have time to kick in, they will likely be flying right at the roofer's body and head.
Bats Can Fly, Roofers Can't
Roofers are extremely vulnerable to anything that throws them off-balance. Even a fall from a one-story roof is serious, but a higher fall can definitely be deadly. Installing toe boards may help a roofer break his fall by giving him something to hang on to, but this isn't an OSHA requirement in all circumstances and isn't routinely done on low-pitch residential roofs.
Hazards of Bat Guano
Bat droppings, called guano, often contain spores of an infectious disease called histoplasmosis. The disease first affects the lungs, then produces flu-like symptoms such as
- joint and muscle pains
- chest pain
- impaired vision
- dry cough
- shortness of breath
While most cases of histoplasmosis run their course, in those with weakened immune systems or heavy smokers, it can become a serious, long-term illness that resembles tuberculosis. Untreated infections can be fatal.
What the Homeowner Can Do to Prevent a Catastrophe
If you suspect you have bats in your attic, inform the roofers when they do the estimate. The roofer will check your attic, and if bats are found, you can remove them and block them out before the roofing work has begun. If you have removed the bats, but not the guano, inform the roofing company so they can provide their roofers with appropriate protective gear.
Bats can be a serious problem for roofers, causing injury, illness and even death. As a homeowner, it is your responsibility to inform the roofers of the presence of bats in your attic. Be sure to use a reputable, licensed and insured roofer like Darnell Construction & Lawncare who knows how to deal with all potential problems of a bat-infested home.