Risk Assessment for Roof Work
When work at height is being planned, especially work on roofs (many of which will be fragile), it’s essential that a comprehensive risk assessment is carried out before the work is begun. According to the UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE), risk assessment is defined as follows:
“a careful examination of what, in your work, could cause harm to people so that you can weigh up whether you have taken enough precautions or should do more to prevent harm . . .”
The main objective of a risk assessment is to determine the measures necessary to comply with statutory duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and associated regulations by reducing the level of incidents or accidents.
The risk assessment process is designed to protect your employees and your business as well as complying with health and safety legislation. A risk assessment should be carried out before you, or any of your employees, conduct work which presents a risk of injury or ill health. With work at height remaining the major cause of fatal accidents and life changing injuries here in the UK, taking all necessary safety precautions is essential.
You should ensure that you (or one of your employees) has attended risk assessment training because this will ensure that your company has a person who is competent when it comes to hazard identification and has the ability to categorise and evaluate risks involved with the work at hand.
While there are no fixed rules to follow when it comes to carrying out a risk assessment, there are some general principles that should be followed. Here are five steps to follow to ensure that the risk assessment is carried out correctly:
- Identify the hazards – in order to do this you’ll need to understand the difference between a hazard and a risk. A hazard is something with the potential to cause harm while a risk is the likelihood of that potential harm being realised.
- Identify who could be harmed and how – Once you’ve identified a number of hazards it’s vital that you understand who could be harmed and how, such as people working in a warehouse or members of the public passing by the site.
- Evaluate the risks involved and decide on measures you can take to control these risks – once you’ve identified the hazards and decided who may be harmed and how, you are required to protect people from harm. The hazards should be removed if possible or the risks should be controlled so that an injury is unlikely.
- Record your findings and then implement them – if there are 5 employees or more, there is a legal requirement that these findings are written out. By recording the findings you can prove that you have identified the hazards, decided who could be harmed and how and this also shows how you plan to eliminate the risks and hazards.
Review your assessment and update it if necessary – never forget that the workplace is constantly changing and this is especially true on construction projects such as roof work. Because the workplace is constantly changing, risk assessments should be reviewed and updated (if necessary) on a regular basis.