Working on your Devon roofs is a highly risky because it entails working at height. Working on commercial and industrial buildings or on the roof of a tower block can be especially hazardous because of the heights involved. Almost twenty five percent of workers who are fatally injured after falling from a height at work are roofing contractors. Roofers at constantly at risk of falling through fragile roofing materials such as skylight and asbestos sheets and this is the cause of more fatalities than any other single source. In addition to the many fatalities there are also numerous cases every year where a roofer is very seriously injured.
Because of the risks that roofers face when working at a height certain regulations, known as the Work at Height Regulations 2005, were introduced to minimise these risks. These rules provide that anyone planning a piece of work that involves working on at height has the following responsibilities:
- To plan for the work without the need to work at height if it is possible. Obviously, in the case of roofing work it is almost impossible to avoid the need to work from a height.
- To make use of work equipment or take other steps that are designed to prevent falls where working at height is unavoidable
- Where the risk of a fall cannot be eradicated, to make use of work equipment or take other steps to reduce the distances of potential falls and minimise the potential consequences.
It is also important that the roofer has sufficient knowledge of the specific kind of roof work that is to be undertaken and be aware of up to date techniques, standards, and equipment TO allow them to undertake their work safely. This also includes training.
Access to the Roof
The regulations also apply to accessing the roof. Safe means of access include ladders, roof hatches, stair towers, fixed scaffolding and scaffold towers. Guidance is also given regarding ensuring that members of the public are protected against objects that fall from the roof and the importance of making a prediction of weather conditions that is as accurate as possible.
In some cases it may be necessary to use fall protection equipment to reduce the risk of a fall or lessen the potential consequences. Fall protection equipment includes guard rails that are high enough to protect a worker from falling, ladders and scaffolding that are properly secured to the building, anchorage of the roofer by wires or ropes, body harnesses, safety nets or materials that are placed on the ground that will cushion the roofer if he or she should fall.
It is often not feasible or financially viable to implement all of these fall protection measures, especially if the roofing work in question is only a minor repair. Nevertheless, even for that type of job, the roofer should always plan the work carefully, keeping the safety of him and his fellow roofers at the forefront of his mind. During the job itself, attention should always be paid to the dangers inherent in roofing work so that the job is completed efficiently and, most importantly, safely.