Working on an elevated platform or rooftop has the potential to be life-threatening. Did you know that falls from height cause more deaths and serious injuries in construction than any other hazard? Roofers make up the biggest proportion of those killed in falls from height at work each year – around 24% of the fatalities.
Working from height should always be avoided where possible. However, in industrial settings we know that many work at height situations cannot be avoided. In such cases, it is the responsibility of site managers and health and safety practitioners to ensure the wellbeing of those carrying out work at height.
In today’s blog we take a look at the key steps needed to keep your team safe when working on rooftops and elevated platforms.
1) Complete risk assessments and method statements
Before any type of work at height is undertaken, complete a full risk assessment and safe method of work statement. Planning and precautions should be as detailed as necessary in relation to the complexity and size of the job in question.
2) Create safe access points
Getting on and off a rooftop or platform is one of the riskiest aspects of working at height. Safe access to and from the work station must be provided. At HITEWORX, we provide cat ladders, safe access and entry platforms as well as bespoke access solutions.
3) Ensure edge protection
Ensure all edges have adequate protection against falls. HSE requirements stipulate:
- A main guard rail at least 950 mm above the edge.
- A toe board and brick guard where there is risk of objects being kicked off the edge of the platform.
- A suitable number of intermediate guard rails or suitable alternatives positioned so that there is no gap more than 470 mm.
When a roof parapet does not provide such level of protection, you must erect extra defences. Talk to a member of our team about our fixed, free-standing or folding guardrail range and made to measure edge protection solutions.
4) Provide safe working platforms
In many cases, a rooftop may provide an adequate working platform. However, when a safe working platform does not exist, for example when working on a chimney or fragile rooftop, create an additional platform which is safe to work on. Our range includes multi-levels solutions, fixed and free standing platforms as well as overhead gantry systems.
5) Employ fall arrest systems
When it is not possible to eliminate the risk of a fall, fall arrest systems must be put in place to ensure workers are not injured should a fall occur. This may include anchorage points as well as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as harnesses and fall arrest blocks.
6) Protect surrounding areas
Pay attention to surrounding areas. Access to danger zones below work from height zones should be restricted. The use of netting or covered walkways may be needed to ensure the safety of those passing below the workspace.
7) Beware bad weather conditions
Working on roofs and platforms can leave workers exposed to bad weather conditions. Work should never be carried out when the weather puts workers at risk. This may be the case in icy, windy or other extreme conditions.
8) Provide training
Any team members required to work on rooftops and platforms should be given rigorous training to prepare them for the job.
Our comprehensive training package includes:
- Introduction to Working at Height
- PFPE – Selection, Use and Inspection
- Full Protection Systems
- Industrial Rope Access
- Mobile Scaffold Tower Training
From site survey, to design, build, installation, maintenance and training, we’ve got your compliant height safety solution covered. Talk to a member of our team to discuss your requirements on: 0333 234 1801