Working on roofs can be a hazardous occupation and it requires a lot of care if your roofing contractors is to complete the roofing work that they are undertaking without causing any harm to themselves or even worse. In fact,falls from roofs account for more deaths and serious injuries in the building industry than any other cause and roofers account for almost one quarter of workers who suffer a fatality i falls from houses. Houses in Devon, particularly some of the Victorian properties in coastal towns such as Torquay and Paignton are often extremely high, consisting of three storeys, and a fall from a height such as this is would be likely to cause catastrophic injuries. For this reason, the Health and Safety Executive in the UK has published a roof safety guidance pamphlet entitled Working on Roofs, which all roofing companies should adhere to and which is designed to reduce the risk of working on roofs.
The Source of Roof Injuries
Most serious injuries are caused through falls over the edge of a roof, through holes or spaces in the roof structure and through flimsy and fragile materials. Any building, repair, renovation, renewal, inspection or cleaning work on a roof raises the possibility of injury. The risk of injury is not confined to those working on the roof. Many people have been injured by articles that have fallen from a roof or been dropped by workers whilst they have been carrying our roofing work. There are therefore some general safety principles that should always be applied when any type of roofing work is being carried out.
Preliminary Risk Assessment
Before commencing any roof work it is a good idea to carry out an initial risk assessment to identify any particularly hazardous characteristics or safety issues that are peculiar to the particular roof. Safe working methods should be devised and clearly communicated to those who will be working on the roof and on the ground, so that everyone on the site has a clear picture of exactly what methodology is expected of them to maintain a high standard of roof safety.
Mounting and dismounting the roof are probably among the most dangerous aspects of roofing work and extreme care should be taken to ensure that safe access is in place. As a bare minimum, a safely secured ladder is necessary. Even better is the employment of a fixed scaffold or tower scaffold.
The most important area of a roof requiring protection is the location from where most falls occur. This is, of course, the roof edges. The edge of every roof should be protected by main and intermediate guard rails to prevent falls. To prevent items falling off the edge of the roof, toe board and brick guards should also be positioned appropriately. This type of protection might be provided naturally by the roof’s parapet but, of curse, not every roof, especially on more modern house, will have parapets.
Where he roof itself does not form a sufficiently secure work platform, a suitable one needs to be constructed and safely secured to the roof.
Fall Protection Measures
Whatever precautions are taken, it is never possible to eradicate completely the possibility of roof falls. The injuries from falls that do occur can be minimised by the use of fall-breaking materials such as nets and bean bags, if it is possible to locate these appropriately.
To prevent the risk of falling materials, roofs should always be kept free of loose slates, tiles and other debris. Roof chutes and enclosed cases should be employed to remove materials from the roof and, if necessary, ground-level access should be limited to further reduce risk.
These simple measures do not take a great deal of time or expense but their implementation will keep the roofers in Torquay, Newton Abbot, Exeter and South Devon safe whilst they carry out your all important roofing work.