At the core of roof safety regulations is the obligation to plan and organise all roofing work to ensure the safety of not only the roofers, but the occupants of the house and indeed passers-by.

The key points for consideration when preparing a roof for work are the safe access to the roof, as well the protection of and from fragile surfaces, roof edges and openings.

In addition, those working on the roof must have the appropriate training, be proven to be competent, and to have a working knowledge of the appropriate safety precautions. This is because all roofing work has the obvious potential for danger, even if the job only takes a few minutes.

Method statements are commonly used in our industry to communicate specific instructions with regard to performing different tasks on site.

The facts:
• 20% of deaths in construction involve roof work, with some of those who die being specialist roofers, while the majority of cases involve the deaths of individuals who are cleaning or repairing roofs.
• The most common causes of fatal injury are falling through fragile roofs, through roof edges/openings, or through fragile roof-lights
• Many accidents can be avoided simply by using the correct equipment, which in turn can be helped by workers being provided with the appropriate training and supervision
• Many deaths occur on both commercial and domestic building sites

What do all roofers need to know to avoid the pitfalls mentioned?

1) How to provide safe access to the roof
This can be done using properly constructed general access scaffolding (including fixed or mobile scaffold towers), stair towers, ladders, mobile access equipment and roof access hatches.

2) How to prevent falls from roof edges and openings
a) Sloping roofs
Sloping roofs require scaffolding to prevent both workers and building materials or tools from falling from the edge. Edge protection must be fitted to the front eaves on roofs, but on the front and rear of the roofs of terraced properties.
For work that is not expected to take very long (minutes rather than hours), ladders can be used, as long as they are deemed fit for purpose by regulatory bodies and are properly secured before work is undertaken.

b) Flat roofs
Setting up edge protection for flat roofs is simpler, requiring a secure double guardrail and a toe-board to be placed around the edge of the roof.

3) How to prevent falls from fragile surfaces
A platform should be placed underneath the roof wherever possible. Stagings and guard rails for the restraint and arrest of falls should also be used, in addition to safety nets placed both directly beneath and close to the roof.

Note: All roofs should be considered fragile until a person trained to assess roofs has confirmed that they are not. Never assume that any roof (including ridges and purlins) will bear your weight, regardless of the material from which it is made, before speaking to a professional.

4) How to prevent falls caused by roof lights
These are particularly hazardous, especially since they can be hard to see, even in daylight. The roof lights must always be located, before being protected with properly secured barriers or covers and labelled with warning signs.

Our accreditations from the relevant regulatory bodies are credit to our unblemished health and safety record over two decades of being in the roofing business. So, if you live in Leeds and need roof repairs or installation with the peace of mind that your roof is in good hands, call DPR now 0113 335 0043.