Working Safely at the Roofline Level

The roofline is a crucial part of any home, and is usually made up of several pieces, each of which serves a different function. The main features are:

Fascias

Soffits

Gutters

These sections work together to keep our houses watertight. In a country that sees a whopping 885mm of rain on average per year, it’s crucial that the roofline is kept in good condition.

There are a range of maintenance tasks that should be carried out regularly to ensure the integrity of the roofline. Although these might seem straightforward, they can in fact put those carrying out the work in a risky situation.

As with any work at height, proper planning, training, and equipment is the key to carrying out this work safely.

In this blog, we’ll take a look at common types of roofline work – and offer some tips for ensuring safety when performing these tasks.

Soffit Maintenance

The soffit is a covering found between the outer edges of the roof and the wall, which protects the rafters against the elements. You’ll generally find that most modern soffits are made of uPVC, which requires little maintenance and can last for years even in harsh wind and rain.

Older soffits, however, were commonly made from wood, which can easily be prone to rot and decay no matter the quality of installation. If the soffit fails, it can quickly put the rest of the roof at risk.

Fascia Maintenance

Fascias generally consist of boards mounted to the exposed edges of roof rafters. These support roof tiles and guttering as well as sealing the roof against water, but they also serve a cosmetic function. 

These too used to be made from wood but are now generally made from high-grade uPVC, nevertheless, they occasionally need maintenance or repair.

Gutter Maintenance

Even those who do not know much about the roofline know their house has gutters. These collect rainwater from the roof and direct the flow to help it drain, usually via downpipes into drains below. This keeps water from pooling and causing damage.

As the most obvious and exposed part of the roofline, guttering requires regular cleaning and maintenance to ensure water does not pool and overflow.

There are a few other minor sections of the roofline, including bargeboards, box ends, and more. All of these require their own type of maintenance to keep them in good condition.

Safe working at the roofline level

As a form of work at height, roofline maintenance can put workers at serious risk of falls, injury, and even death. This kind of task should not be taken lightly, and you should keep the following in mind when performing roofline jobs.

Planning

Proper planning is crucial to carrying out work safely. Whether you are the one doing the work, or you are hiring subcontractors, you will have a responsibility under Health and Safety legislation such as the Health and Safety At Work Act (HASAWA) and the Work at Height Regulations.

A full and comprehensive risk assessment should be carried out before any work begins, identifying any risks to workers, those living in the property, and passersby. Only by identifying these risks can you begin to control them.

Competency and training

Legislation states that work at height – and any work with inherent risk – should only be carried out by those who are ‘competent’. Competency can be defined, essentially, as having the skills, training, temperament, and experience to carry out the work.

If you do not have the training to carry out the work you are doing, you should not be doing it. Work at height is fundamentally dangerous, and only those with the right training and skills should be attempting it.

If hiring subcontractors, it’s your duty to ensure the company you contract is only employing trained and skilled workers to carry out the job.

Equipment

Once you have identified potential risks, as well as the right people to do the job, your next step is ensuring they have the right equipment to do it safely. This ranges from simple things like workboots and hard hats, to safety and access systems such as scaffolding or Mobile Elevated Work Platforms.

Traditional solutions for roofline work include ladders and scaffolding, but these come with their own drawbacks. We’ve talked about the problem with scaffolding before, and how a rapid, safe access platform such as the Easi-Dec might be a better option.

No matter what equipment you use, you should do your research to ensure it meets your needs and will keep you and your workers safe.

Safety first

Although roofline maintenance tasks can be dangerous, you can minimise the risk with a little bit of planning and common sense.

Easi-Dec is well known in the industry for designing and supplying effective safe access solutions for roofline work and more. Can we help you? Call today on 

01767 691 812, or use our online contact form to discuss your safe access needs.