D-marc™ – Making Roofing Work Safer

D-marc™ – Making Roofing Work Safer

25th April 2016

D-marc™ is a form of Collective Demarcation Protection that’s been developed in accordance with the Health and Safety Executive’s (HSE) hierarchy of risk management as set out in the Working at Heights Regulations 2005 (WAHR).  When working at height, safety is a vital issue and a roof demarcation system ensures that all roof-based work can be undertaken in a safe and secure environment.

In construction and roofing work, when roof access is necessary, designers are required to create a safe route to and from the place of work which should be identified by a demarcation system.  

The BRE (Building Research Establishment) is the organisation that carries out research, consultancy and testing for the construction and built environment sectors here in the UK.  One of the BRE’s areas of interest is participation in the preparation of national and international standards and building codes, including UK building regulations.  The BRE confirms that buildings are generally designed for wind speeds with an annual probability of exceedance of 0.02 (that means a 1:50 year wind speed).  If a demarcation system is to be left in place on the roof for a year or more, it will need to meet the same design parameters.

Traditional demarcation systems are often unstable and may be susceptible to wind uplift which can cause them to fly off the roof at a wind speed as low as 50 mph.  When considering a typical British urban location such as Coleshill in the Midlands, Met Office figures show that there have been 77 such events over the past ten years.

Demarcation legislation requires that where work is not done at the edge of a roof, demarcation barriers should be provided at a safe distance from the edge – this is usually at least 2 metres from the edge of the roof.  Barriers must be visible and obvious.  Schedule 2 of the WAHR deals with the requirement for guardrails, toe boards or other similar barriers. 

Full edge protection may not be necessary if limited work on a larger roof does not involve anybody going closer than 2 metres to an open edge.  In these cases, demarcated areas should be set up and nobody should go outside these barriers either during the work or when gaining access to the work area.  Demarcated areas should be:

  • Limited to areas from which nobody can fall
  • Indicated by an obvious physical barrier (full edge protection is not necessary, but a painted line or the use of bunting is not acceptable).

D-marc™ have developed a demarcation barrier solution that can be used on flat roofs to provide a collective demarcation protection solution that follows the doctrine of “prevention is better than cure”.  It’s a type of collective demarcation protection system that can be used to prevent access to hazards during regular rooftop maintenance activities.  We’ll be bringing you more information on D-marc in the coming weeks, so watch this space.