Barrier for Flat Roof: When is it Necessary?
Working on a flat roof doesn’t seem to imply excessive hazards at first glance. Yet, strong winds or a loss of balance while walking on the edge of the roof are frequent causes of fall injuries or death.
The first step to understanding when to use flat roof safety barriers is understanding when there is a fall hazard involved.
Typically, a fall hazard is considered to be involved when working 3 metres or more above the nearest safe surface or water, or less than 3 metres when there is a surface or object that could cause injury from landing or when working over exposed materials in vans, pits, or open tanks.
These fall hazards apply in case of flat roof buildings too, especially when working on the edge of the roof.
Where should you place a Barrier for flat roof?
Flat roofs are those with slopes less than 5%. Due to the nature of the roof, fall hazards are greatly reduced. Nevertheless, according to the Safety at Height Regulations, you should take additional suitable and sufficient measures to prevent fall.
Different types of flat roof barriers should be employed whenever you’re working at heights.
- Demarcation barrier systems: Are typically used when work is not done at the edge of the roof; these systems are placed at a safe distance from the fall hazard, usually of 2 metres or more. If you can’t install such a system at the specified distance, a modular, non-penetrative, freestanding roof handrail could be a safer solution.
- Skylight protection systems: Are used to make work around fragile roofs safer. They usually consist of hatch guardrails and skylight covers. If work is done at 2 metres or more from the fragile roof, you could still use a demarcation barrier.
- Fixed roof handrails: Typically installed at the edge of the roof, these barriers are robust, steel handrails fixed to a roof parapet. An ideal solution for regular work on a roof, such as maintenance work.
When working on the edge of a flat roof with no fixed handrails, other safety measures should be employed.
Personnel safety nets, horizontal lifelines, lanyards, and travel restraint systems are just some of the measures you could adopt to keep you or your employees safe when working at heights.
How do you choose a Barrier for flat roof?
A preliminary inspection of the site and assessment of work are two vital steps to take before deciding what type of barrier for a flat roof to use.
Regardless of the type you need, make sure the barrier is made from robust material and that it is wind resistant. This is very important, especially when installing modular flat roof barriers that are not fixed to the ground.
If you’re using a modular system, check both the overall safety and the installation and transport ease.
Undoubtedly, using barriers for flat roofs is essential whenever working at heights. With various solutions out there, it is important to choose the most appropriate one.