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Time to Think About Barn Roof Safety

by Cornell University Extension

When the snow comes down heavy and hard, it’s time for farmers to start thinking about barn roof safety. 

Heavy snow can put barn roofs at risk, but snow removal must be performed carefully. Removing snow without the proper approach can cause more damage, by creating an unbalanced load. Remember, your number one priority must be to protect your own safety! 

Farmers are encouraged to consider these safety tips, provided by Cornell University, when considering snow removal from a barn roof. 


  • DO consider a systematic approach. You need a plan! For a diagram of the best way to remove snow from your barn structure, see this tip sheet from Cornell  
  • DO listen for creaking or moaning – if your barn is built from wood, unusual sounds may indicate there’s trouble afoot 
  • DO look for bending or bowing rafters, headers, or columns. There are often visual cues to be found, if you look carefully at the structure 
  • DO ask for help. You can’t do this alone. Who is your back up? Is there anyone in your community with expertise or equipment, who might be willing to help? 


  • DON’T remove snow unequally from the roof. Unbalanced loads can create even more problems. 
  • DON’T pile snow atop the roof. Do not simply move the snow from one area of the roof to another 
  • DON’T attempt to clear the snow yourself! Make sure there are others nearby, helping and watching, in the event of a problem 

Return to January 2022 Agriview All-Access

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