How to Perform a Rooftop Safety Audit
Falling from heights is still a major cause of workplace injuries and fatalities. Employers and safety officers are working hard to protect workers, contractors and anyone else who will be accessing the roof of their property. A rooftop safety audit is one essential way to ensure all the high-risk areas on the roof are inspected and the possible hazards reduced and/or eliminated. Below is a complete guide on how to successfully conduct a rooftop safety audit for your property.
1. Access Points
How people access the roof is one of the vital aspects to consider in your safety audit. Some of the main access points include the step units, ladders, roof hatches, and walk-out doors. Pay attention to the following factors:
● Are there any trip hazards around walk-out doors?
● Does the step unit have handrails for support?
● Are there railings around the roof hatches to alert the workers about the hole in the roof?
● Are fixed ladders in good condition - rust free and securely attached to the wall?
● Are the hatches dangerously close to the roof edge?
● Is there proper lighting in place?
● Are there proper measures in place to prevent unauthorised persons’ access to the roof?
2. Walking Paths
When it comes to rooftop safety, the shortest distance between two points may not always be the safest. In such a situation, it’s important to have a marked route to keep the workers from walking close to a hazard. When checking the walking paths, consider the following factors:
● Does the path have to cross any rooftop obstacles like varying height roofs or pipes?
● Are the walking paths clearly demarcated? Will the people be able to discern the path if you’re in a climate that gets snow?
● Are the workers required to walk on an uneven roof surface?
● Is the path closer than 15 inches from an unprotected roof edge?
● Are all the skylights, smoke vents, and other openings properly guarded?
Performing a risk assessment will show you the footprints of your workers and the relevant steps to take to solve the issue.
3. Unprotected Edges and Open Sides
Roof edges are the most obvious fall hazard existing on any roof. When performing a safety audit, consider the following factors:
● Are shorter parapets properly guarded?
● Is there a toeboard in place to prevent tools from falling over the edge?
● Are the edges properly guarded?
● Are there any changes in height greater than 4 feet? If yes, are they properly protected?
● Are there fall protection railings or fall arrest devices? If yes, are they in proper working order?
You need to work on eliminating the hazard completely or ensure proper safety measures are in place. You can apply spot protection to areas that pose direct hazards to workers, especially where a roof edge is near a walking or working surface.
4. Rooftop Equipment
HVAC equipment, sensors, and fans are the most common pieces of equipment usually installed on the roof. These units will constantly need servicing and repair. It’s important to consider the safety of your workers and contractors while working on the roof. To achieve this, pay attention to the following factors:
● What piece of equipment needs to be accessed on the roof?
● Does accessing the equipment pose a significant trip hazard?
● Is the equipment within 15 inches off the roof edge?
● How high is the equipment? If it’s 6-inch and above and the workers need to access its top, will they be protected?
● Can the workers fall into or through the equipment?