Roofing Today Magazine has recently released an article about when a roofer should use a ladder after changes were made by HSE regarding the accepted practice.

The subject of safe ladder use has been contested for a number of years with many roofers believing in one thing and many others sticking to something else. It has at times lead to some roofers getting into trouble and at one point lead to the Ladder Association putting out a press release which said that ladders were not banned.

As a result, the HSE looked into the matter further and found that it was not that the guidelines were outdated, just that their meaning could be misinterpreted. As a result, they have released a document (INDG455) which explains the use of ladders exclusively. This document looked at a few different things of which DPR’s leading roofers have listed some of the outcomes below:

Short duration tasks:

Some people believed in a half hour rule which is quite well added in this document. Ladders can be a sensible option if the roof work is low-risk for short duration tasks. Basically, if someone is needed to stand on a ladder for more than half an hour at a time, a different type of equipment should be used.

However where some people had gone wrong was that the time issue was not an issue, but rather the risk was too great to be using ladders. With all roof work, the risk should be worked out first and ladders should only be used if the weather conditions allow safe use. A guide has been made to determine when they should and should not be used, although this should become common practice.

Secured ladders:

Making sure the ladder is secure is of prime importance. Unlike in some trades when going up and down a ladder might be quite easy, if you are a roofer, you could well be carrying out work whilst standing on the ladder with dangerous and expansive power tools. You should try and keep a hand on the ladder if possible although short periods without are quite safe. If longer periods are needed with hands of the ladder, then again you should consider using different equipment, or erecting some scaffolding.

Training and Maintenance

This may seem like a weird example but some people do not have adequate training for carrying out roof work whilst on a ladder. Getting accreditation is easy to do and many courses are around the UK. Making sure you know how to work safely with a ladder is very important and that it is maintained and up to the job standard is also very important. This includes checking the rungs, that the ladder is clean and much more. An unsafe ladder could well make your roof work unsafe and cause injury.

At DPR all our roofers hold the current accreditations for safe ladder work and we are regularly checking our equipment. For more information on how to work safely on a ladder or to use a roofer for your repair work that knows these legislations, please call us on 0113 3470918.