Carrying out roofing work safely should be of the highest importance to any contractor. As a roofing environment is already somewhat dangerous, prior to heading up, the necessary precautions need to be taken.
There are numerous risks involved, and even in performing small jobs, these risks are still present. Roof safety risks need to be properly managed and safety hazards need to be communicated to every team member on site, as well as the client should he or she enter the roofing environment.
Numerous statistics highlight the importance of roof safety, including approximately 20 percent of all deaths in construction involving roof work to some degree. The main causes of roofing deaths include falling from the edges and openings. Fortunately, most of these accidents can be avoided ensuring the right equipment is used on-site, and that work being completed, is provided adequate instruction and supervision.
To successfully manage safety in roofing, one must plan the safest way to access the roof and how work is to progress over the course of the project. To these points, there may be many factors that come into consideration. To access roofs, there exists several methods, including general scaffolding, stair towers, ladders, and roof access hatches. In terms of getting up and getting down, doing so safely and being attentive while one is entering or exiting the roofing environment is a must.
Falls from roof edges and openings
Residential roofing is a little easier to navigate in terms of edges and openings; however on commercial roofs, this is more of an issue. New build and refurbishment jobs are common for falls from roof edges and openings. Unfortunately, numerous injuries are caused every year in Canada and around the world from both inexperienced and experienced roofers slipping and falling from these areas. As it pertains to sloping roofs, scaffolding is required to ensure no person or materials fall from the edge. If the work to be completed is small and short in duration, securing a ladder to access the roof and other safety measures may be taken. With regards to flat roofs, edge protection arrangements, such as a secure double guardrail are the most commonly used methods to guard against falls.
Fragile areas of the roof
Some roofing environments are more fragile than others. At times, fragile areas can be difficult to spot. For more fragile roof surfaces, more safety measures may be needed. It’s not uncommon on larger projects to see guard rails, fall restraints, fall arrest, and safety nets be used surrounding the roof. Conduct a thorough assessment of every roofing environment prior to deeming it non-fragile. For skylights or openings in the roof, these are hazards sometimes difficult to see. Provide the necessary protection in these areas, use covers that are securely labelled or barriers with a warning.
In installing and repairing residential and commercial roofing, safety should always be questioned and assessed. Even the most highly experienced roofer with the most confidence in their non-slip footwear can experience a slip and fall.
Injuries happen, and the only way to guard against them is to plan and protect. Therefore, identify beforehand how to access the roof, the safety risks that exist around roof edges and openings, and any surfaces that may be fragile.