The Importance of Risk Assessments:

Performing risk assessments and safety inspections can help reduce risks associated with working at heights.
There are regulations that require employers to conduct risk assessments in order to formulate and implement preventive measures against the injuries and fatalities associated with working at heights.

The Assessment Procedure:

Where roof work cannot be avoided, the duty holder must ensure that:

  • All roof work is properly planned and organised.
  • Those involved in planning and carrying out the work are competent.
  • The risks from the work are assessed.
  • Appropriate work equipment is selected, used, maintained and inspected.
  • The risks from fragile surfaces are properly controlled.
  • The risks from falling objects are properly controlled.
  • Emergencies and rescue are planned for (for example, if a fire occurs).

The factors to be considered in such a risk assessment will include the following:

  • the work activity (ie the proposed roof work).
  • the equipment to be used (both for access and egress purposes, and in the actual work activity).
  • the duration of the work.
  • the location of the roof (to determine the presence of hazards such as overhead power cables).
  • the work environment (including weather conditions, lighting, space, etc).
  • the type, condition and stability of the roof (including fragility, sloping, flat or industrial roof).
  • the physical capabilities and competency of the workers.
  • emergency procedures required in the event of an incident or accident.

Fragile surfaces:

As mentioned above, fragile surfaces on roofs is a major contributor to accidents occurring. “fragile surfaces” is given the definition of “a surface which would be liable to fail if any reasonably foreseeable loading were to be applied to it”.

Any work on fragile roofs, however trivial it may seem, should be carefully assessed, planned and supervised, and all roofs should be treated as fragile until a competent person has confirmed they are not.

Therefore as part of the assessment process, the factors that could cause fragility should be addressed including:

  • general deterioration of the roof due to ageing, neglect and lack of maintenance.
  • corrosion of metal clad roofs and fixings.
  • quality of the original installation.
  • selection of original material, fixings and washers.
  • subsequent impact and thermal damage.
  • deterioration of the supporting structure, sheeting and fixings from below due to processes within the building and other causes.
  • damage from rain and storm water leading to random areas of weakness.

Top 10 Height Safety Tips:

  1. Always begin with your Pre-Start Talk:
    Make sure you always conduct a 5-10 minute pre-start talk with all workers before commencing work on a rooftop. Discuss common hazards present (like the common hazards above), assess the condition of the work area, confirm that proper permits have been secured, and encourage the team to verbalize the safety tips to follow.
  2. Work only during good weather conditions and avoid extreme heat/cold:
    Not only does extreme weather cause slips and falls, it can also hinder proper execution of roofing work (roof shingles not sealing down). A wet roof is also a huge risk for slips and falls.
  3. Ladders should be stable and properly secured or tied off:
    Always make sure that there are enough ladders for the job and that they’re all safe to use. Check your ladders for safety as some of them may need repair or replacement to prevent fatal accidents or injuries.
  4. Wear proper PPE (Personal Protection Equipment):
    Wearing proper PPE such as helmets, shoes with traction, and fall protection harnesses can help save you when slips and falls occur. Perform regular PPE checks to ensure your team is properly equipped.
  5. Carefully position ropes and extension cords so they’re not underfoot:
    When not properly handled, ropes and cords not only hinder workers’ movements, they can also cause fatal accidents. Always follow proper use of ropes, cords, and safety harnesses.
  6. Sweep the roof before and after work and make sure it is clear of dirt and debris:
    One random nail can cause slips while snow or leaves can hide areas of the roof that should be visible to workers. Always keep the roof clean and free of items that can cause accidents or materials that can hinder visibility of the roof.
  7. Use guardrails whenever possible:
    Guardrails serve as a visual and physical barrier which protect workers from falls. It reduces the risk of injury and death from working on roofs.
  8. Skylights should be guarded appropriately:
    Skylights and other openings on roofs should be properly covered and labeled with visible warning signs to prevent workers from leaning on or falling into them.
  9. Be careful of slate and tile roofs:
    Slate and tile roofing is a major slip hazard. Always make sure that workers are properly trained and have enough experience to work on slate and tile roofs.
  10. Signage should be visible in your work area:
    People around the work area should always be made aware of roofing work in the vicinity by using visible warning signs to prevent injury or accidents with staff working on site or from falling debris.

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Height safety compliance starts with the design. Send through your architectural plans and we will advise you with the site specific on-budget solution.

An accredited team of height safety installers with the experience to ensure we over-deliver. Our team of installers is flexible and can be on-site on short notice.

Certification of your height safety system and testing of your anchor points to ensure compliance with relevant Australian standards.

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