Roofing Contractors – The Dos and Don’ts of Working at Height
Despite stringent work at height safety regulations, falls from a height are still a significant challenge for the construction industry and for the roofing sector in particular. The roofing industry is one of the most risky in which to work here in the UK because, by its very nature, it requires work at height on practically a daily basis. Working at height daily can lead to complacency in the workforce – after all, they are used to working at height and haven’t yet suffered a serious fall. In order to counteract this sense of complacency, regular reminders about the dangers and best practice are a vital part of raising awareness amongst roofing workers and keeping them safe in future. Today we’re going to take a little look at the Dos and Don’ts when it comes to working at height, especially on rooftops.
- Make sure that suitable safety equipment is available. This not only should be fit for the user and the task at hand, it should also ben been correctly installed and inspected and maintained on a regular basis.
- Take all necessary precautions. A stringent risk assessment should be carried out before work commences in order to identify and eliminate or reduce any potential risks – for example working on fragile roofs or near skylights.
- Plan for an emergency. Should an incident occur, it’s vital that emergency evacuation and rescue procedures are already in place.
- If working on a flat roof, ensure that safety measures are in place, such as a rooftop demarcation barrier to prevent access to the roof edge. In cases where a flat roof has a fragile surface, consider installing a rooftop walkway system to identify a safe access route to the work area.
- Carry out any work at height without the correct training. It is vital that those who are expected to work at height have the correct knowledge, skills and experience to carry out the work in a safe manner.
- Take any unnecessary risks when working at height. What may seem like a relatively small risk at the time can lead to disastrous, unforeseen results. Operate a zero tolerance policy when it comes to risks.
- Work alone without a plan. Working at height alone may increase the risks involved and, should a fall occur, a lone worker may not get the necessary medical attention immediately. For those who work at height alone, it’s vital that there is a plan in place for cases of emergency – a means of calling for help or, better still, a regular checking procedure to maintain the safety of lone workers. Wearable technology featuring an emergency alarm is a great idea for those who work alone at height.
Working alone when working at height represents a whole new level of risk and should be avoided wherever possible because, in the case of an emergency, the worker may be unconscious and unable to alert emergency services themselves.