Is your roof safe?
To comply with the Work at Height Regulations 2005, employers, and those in control of any work at height (including facilities managers and building owners), must make sure that work is properly planned, supervised, and carried out by competent people. This is achieved by assessing the risks and applying the hierarchy of controls contained in the Regulations, which are:
- Avoiding working at height where possible: Some activities can be completed from the ground, e.g. using extendable tools to clean windows or using a drone to undertake roof inspections.
- Preventing falls: Where access to the roof is unavoidable, then arrangements must be in place to prevent falls. Passive fall prevention includes physical barriers such as guardrails or railings, which keep workers away from roof edges, fragile surfaces, or roof holes.
- Minimise the distance: If the above control methods cannot be applied and the risk of falls remain, you must take sufficient measures to minimise the distance and/or consequences of a fall. Collective measures include safety nets or soft-landing systems e.g. air bags installed close to the level of the work. Alternatively, personal protection methods can be used e.g. fall-arrest systems using body harnesses and Latchways and anchor points.
Access to the roof should be restricted to authorised personnel only (competent maintenance contractors etc), which can be done by securing the entry points and issuing keys / codes along with a permit to work and undertaking roof access induction training. All access equipment and fall protection systems need to be inspected, serviced, and maintained as part of the routine planned preventative maintenance (PPM) schedule and records maintained.