Falls from height through fragile roofs are one of the main causes of workplace fatal and major injuries.
According to the HSE, nine people a year fall to their deaths through fragile roofs, so it’s clear to see that these pose a serious risk particularly in manufacturing and industrial premises, including glazing and fabrication, where fragile surfaces are prevalent.
Often, these falls occur due to a safe method of work not being implemented, usually when it comes to maintenance and cleaning work on the roofs of production facilities and warehouses.
Carrying Out Work at Height Safely
Before work at height is carried out, a thorough assessment should always be undertaken to determine whether it could be avoided, with work carried out from the ground or from a work platform.
If it is absolutely necessary to access the roof for the work, then you should next consider the correct measures needed to carry out the work safely. These will generally include the use of appropriate equipment, as well as training and supervision whilst carrying out the work.
Risks for the Glazing Industry
Fragile roofs are a serious risk in the glazing industry. Factories and warehouses used for the production of glass panels and frames are quite often older buildings, usually built when design and construction regulations were not as stringent and the dangers of fragile surfaces were to an extent unknown. Over time the roofs of these buildings can naturally become worn, brittle and fragile and so more hazardous.
Surfaces which present a particular risk include:
- Rooflights, usually designed to man-safe on installation, these can degrade over the years and become unsafe. You should always assume they are unsafe unless installation documents state otherwise.
- old liner panels on built-up sheeted roofs
- non-reinforced fibre cement sheets
- corroded metal sheets
- glass (including wired glass
- rotted chipboard
- slates and tiles
Easi-Dec has a long history of working with manufacturing companies, including those within the glazing industry, providing safe access solutions for when work needs to be carried out.
Our Roof Walk temporary walkway system, available with single and double handrails, spreads the load of the worker using it from eaves to ridge to protect against a fall as well as the roof surface beneath. The hatched version also allows work over fragile gutters.
The Easi-Cover protects against falls through fragile skylights, as well as preventing any dropped tools or equipment from breaking the glass and falling into the area below. This is a particular concern with the production and storage of very fragile items such as glass panels.
If your building features varied pitches, you may have a roof valley gutter, which will require regular maintenance. Our Valley Walk system mobile safety cage can be used extensively for light maintenance of valley gutters, including inspection, cleaning or resealing.
For more information about our Industrial Roof Safety Products, click here, or call our product experts on 01767 691812