Industry news — Tips for Working on A Roof

Tips for Working on A Roof

The below information in conjunction with all relevant industry standards including NSW SafeWork Safe Work on Roofs is one step to actively managing active rooftop falls and combating hazards. 

COMMON ROOFTOP HAZARDS

1. Make sure your access points are secured

Many rooftop accidents and injuries occur while accessing the rooftop. Scaffolding, constructed work platforms or mobile elevating work platforms (MEWPs) are the preferred means of temporary access and must be constructed appropriately and properly stabilised. Also proper training on ladder and climbing safety is an extremely important aspect of rooftop safety. Accidents can happen on the way up and on the way down, so always make sure you’re properly secured and taking the right steps, even when the day is over and you’re excited to get down and head home.

2. Take your time and tread carefully
The roof itself and how it is built can also present a hazard. Roofs may have variable heights, soft spots, cracks or loose material as well as pipes and vents that can all create tripping hazards or distractions. It is extremely important to take the time you need to slowly and safely travel while on a rooftop. Make sure you are always aware of your surroundings and your footing is firm before actually shifting your weight
3. Always be aware of the edge
When working on a rooftop, always keep the edge location in the back of your mind. Try to avoid the edge being out of your line of vision as much as possible, and when working in areas that block your view of the edge, be aware and proceed with extra caution. If you’re working in a darker environment, proper lighting must be used to provide a brightly lit workspace. Far too often workers approach the edge without realizing or assume the edge is much farther away than it actually is. 
4. Consider the weather
It’s important to keep in mind the current weather conditions as well. Ice, snow and wind are all things that can create unexpected hazards on a roof. Roof membranes are especially prone to becoming slippery in these weather conditions. Also on particularly sunny days be sure to wear sunglasses to prevent sun blindness.
5. Check the structure’s strength
In some cases, a roof can simply fail. This is a prominent issue if the worker needs to assess the roof to make repairs to it. To avoid injury or falling off the roof should it fail, workers should access the roof’s strength before stepping on it and should be trained on what to do in the event of a roof failure.

INVEST IN FALL PROTECTION GEAR. 

Regardless of the situation, fall protection gear should always be used when accessing a roof and a working knowledge of personal protective equipment (PPE) will save lives. Adequate fall protection gear is also a must. Accidents can still ALWAYS happen, and should a fall happen, your fall protection gear will reduce the amount of damage that will occur.

If you’re working at a height exceeding 3 meters (10 feet) occupational health and safety laws generally require fall protection measures to be in place. That’s where things like roofers kits and other fall protection equipment come into play. Roofers kits are a great tool for general fall protection while working on a roof, because it provides you with everything you need to safely secure yourself. Ranger offers a wide range of fall protection equipment and our experts would be happy to set you up with the right equipment based on your needs. 

Ultimately keeping hazards in mind and striving to reduce them will see many rooftop injuries avoided. SafeWork NSW’s Falls from Heights Checklist is a free resource for builders, principal contractors and site supervisors which provides practical tips to identify and address height hazards.

LOOKING FOR MORE INFO OR NEED ADVICE? 

RANGER can assist you to ensure you have the right systems in place to manage workplace safety, and you can always call us on the below number with any safety related questions. Our fall prevention experts can work with you to develop an action plan to help keep your employees and those visiting your facility safe.

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