Your Complete Guide to Enhancing Rooftop Safety and Accessibility
Rooftops are indisputably dangerous, both for competent and non-competent personnel. According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), roof work accounts for almost one in five deaths in the construction industry. Falls from roof edges, roof openings, and fragile roofs and roof lights are the main causes of injuries and deaths. For such, employers and building owners should make access to the rooftop relatively difficult for anyone, with barriers in the form of availability of proper fall protection, timesheets, permission slips, special training, and locks. This means that one should only be allowed access to the rooftop after acquiring all the clearance and has learnt about its safety features.
The next major concern after your workers and contractors have fulfilled all the requirements put in place to restrict access to the roof, you need to ensure they’re able to traverse the rooftop easily and safely. They should be able to access the rooftop job sites and conduct the tasks at and in comfort and safety. This requires that you have the necessary fall prevention measures in place, including adding proper handrails to roof edges and access platforms such as step units next to rooftop equipment and elevated spaces.
The handrails on the roof will essentially protect the workers working near the edge and also those working on elevated structures and equipment on the roof such as HVAC equipment, pipes, ducts, and solar panels. These measures are a requirement by the law and failure to comply will reflect poorly on your safety record and reputation. It may lead to HSE citation, huge fines, and high worker compensation costs. To prevent these from happening, consider installing the following essential tools in your rooftop to improve safety, comply with industry requirements, and protect your workforce from injuries and even deaths.
Roof Access Walkways
Walkways are among the primary methods of enhancing safety on commercial rooftops. They encourage contractors and workers to use clearly marked paths away from potential hazards. Most walkways provide elevated pathways with handrails for protecting the workers from falls. The raised pathways give workers a clear view of the rooftop and the pieces of equipment for easy and safe inspections and manoeuvering. The equipment usually rests atop the roof with non-penetrating fasteners that help protect the roofing membrane.
Ducts, pipes, and cables need to be raised a short distance from the roof surface to protect the roof from fire, excess heat, and cold hazards. However, elevating these pieces of equipment turns them into obstacles that could easily result in falls and injuries or coming into contact with hot pipes or live wires. You, therefore, need to install crossover ramps or stairs with handrails in strategic positions on the roof to allow workers to pass by the obstacles. The handrails will help provide support and stability to the workers as they get around the rooftop.
Most commercial roofs normally contain some capital equipment to keep the building running. These pieces of equipment are often elevated above the roof surface alongside pipes and cables for membrane protection and maintenance and repairs purposes. Access platforms will, therefore, enable the workers and contractors to easily and conveniently conduct scheduled maintenance and repairs.