Scaffold Information for Roofing Contractors
Roofing work by its very nature entails work at height and this often involves the use of scaffold to access the rooftop, whether it’s a pitched roof or a flat roof. Working on a scaffold is preferable to working on a ladder, which should only be used for jobs of short duration (30 minutes or less) Any workers who use a scaffold should be competent to do so and should have received appropriate training for the type of scaffold they are working on.
Legislation requires that employers should provide appropriate levels of supervision, taking into consideration the complexity of the work and the levels of training and competence of the scaffolders involved. Every scaffold gang should contain a competent scaffolder who has been trained for the type and complexity of the scaffold to be erected, altered or dismantled.
Trainee scaffolders must always work under direct supervision from a trained and competent scaffolder. All operatives are classed as trainees until they have completed the approved training and assessment necessary to be deemed competent. All scaffolding workers should be fully up to date with the latest changes to safety guidance and good working practices within the scaffold industry. Pre-start, job specific instructions and regular toolbox talks is a great way of keeping the team up to date.
It is the responsibility of the hirers or users of the scaffolding to ensure that it has been inspected in the following manner:
- Following installation and before first use
- At intervals of no more than 7 days thereafter
- After any event or circumstance that is likely to jeopardise the safety of the installation, such as storms and high winds.
Scaffold inspections should always be carried out by a competent person who has the appropriate knowledge, training and experience for the type and complexity of the scaffold being used. It may be that competence has been assessed under the CISRS (Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme), or that a worker has received training in inspecting a specific type of scaffold system direct from the manufacturer.
A non-scaffolding worker who has attended a scaffold inspection course (for example, a site manager or site supervisor) may be considered competent to inspect a basic scaffold structure.
A scaffold inspection report or log should highlight any defects or other issues that may pose a risk to health and safety. Corrective action should be taken immediately before the scaffold is used by workers to gain access to work areas.
During the planning process, before work begins, the scaffold contractor should be provided with the relevant information necessary to ensure that an accurate design process is followed. This information should include:
- Site location and the period of time scaffold should be in place
- Intended use
- Height and length (and any other dimensions) of the scaffold
- Number of boarded lifts necessary
- Maximum working loads and maximum number of people using the scaffold at any one time
- Type of access onto the scaffold (e.g. stairs, ladder bay, external ladders)
- Whether sheeting, netting or brickguards will be required
- Any specific requirement – e.g. Pedestrian walkway, restriction on tie locations, provision for mechanical handling equipment such as a hoist
- The nature of the ground conditions or supporting structure
- Information on the structure the scaffold will be erected against, with all relevant dimensions and drawings
- Any restrictions that may affect the erection, alteration or dismantling procedure.