Top Tips To Make Roofing Work Safer

Top Tips To Make Roofing Work Safer

26th March 2014

Roofing work is some of the most dangerous work that can be undertaken and figures show that the most common work related injuries in the UK are among those who work at height.  Even though fatal injuries at work are decreasing, it’s still  vital that we lower the figures and make workplaces across the UK as safe as possible.  Because those who work in the roofing industry seem to be particularly at risk, we’re taking a look today at some of the tips that could make all the difference between suffering a fall and staying safe whilst working.

  • Ladders should only be used as a last resort in the absence of more suitable equipment and should only be used for low risk, short duration tasks.
  • When ladders are used for roofing work, they should be of an industrial grade (not domestic ladders), in good condition.
  • A ladder inspection should be carried out before using any ladder and every time a ladder is moved along to a new area.
  • During the ladder inspection, make sure that the feet and end caps are not missing or worn.
  • If the ladder you are using has a stabilising device of any kind, make sure that you use it at all times.
  • Ladders should always be secured (tied off) to prevent movement.  The anchorage at the top of the ladder should not depend on the ridge capping as this could break away from the ridge.
  • Don’t even consider going on to any roof in bad weather conditions like rain, frost, ice or strong, gusting winds or if the roof conditions are slippery.  Winds in excess of 23 mph (Force 5) will affect your balance and make the job unsafe.
  • If a harness is used, then you will need to ensure that it is fixed to adequate anchorage points.  If you use a harness, you need to ensure that you have had the correct training and know how to use the device consistently and correctly.

Whenever possible, avoid undertaking any work on a fragile or badly damaged roof.  It’s often possible to work on the roof from underneath using a suitable working platform or a mobile elevated platform that allows people to work from within a safety basked without having to actually stand on the roof.

If working on a fragile roof cannot be avoided, then it’s essential to ensure that perimeter edge protection is installed and effective staging used to spread the load and avoid danger.  If the work and access is on platforms or staging that has guardrails fitted, then safety nets should be installed underneath the roof or a harness system should be used.

Statistics suggest that in the UK somebody is injured using a ladder every three minutes.  While most of the injuries may be minor, attention to detail is of paramount importance to reduce the risks involved when using ladders, both at work and in the home and garden.