Roofers need to take the utmost care while working at height, both to ensure that they don’t get injured themselves or put anyone else at risk as they carry out their duties.It is, therefore, important to come up with, and implement, effective safety measures while working on roofs.
Here, workwear and personal protection equipment specialists, Engelbert Strauss summarise a few important tips to help safeguard roofer safety.
Get proper PPE and always inspect it
If you are going to work on a roof, you need the proper equipment. One important piece of kit is a full-body harness. It should meet all the ISO 45001 standards.
Since falling is a hazard for roofers, always ensure you are also wearing a hard hat to help shield your head in case of impact.
Handling nails and a hammer will also require you to keep your hands protected with a pair of good gloves.
Lastly, proper shoes with anti-slip features and perforation are a must too. These will give you a good grip while working on a roof and keep any sharp objects like nails from puncturing your feet.
Before wearing PPEs, inspect them thoroughly or have a competent person do it to check that they are in good condition – they could be the difference between your life and death. If you notice that any of your PPE is getting worn out, replace it immediately. Never work with substandard equipment. Understand what is acceptable and what is not and also what to do in case there is a problem.
- Eye, ear, and respiratory protection
- Wet weather gear
- Disposable overalls
National minimum safety standards are put in place to ensure the well-being of workers by protecting and educating them. The HSE, NFRC and IOSH, amongst others, have set these standards to outline the regulations and methods that roofers should adhere to at work.
Employers are also required to guarantee the safety of their employees at work. Not only must they take all the steps necessary to ensure this, but they must also identify hazards to their employees and control them at all times. Employees must be well-trained and supervised to carry out their duties safely and it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure this.
Always understand fall distance
Wearing fall protection equipment is not enough on its own to prevent fall injuries. Exact fall distances should be ascertained for each job, which should include the length of the lanyard once deployed, together with your body length under the D-ring and also any sag present in your anchor and harness system. This means that you should count 18.5 inches as the minimum before using a 6-inch lanyard with deceleration equipment.
Use ladders appropriately
Ladders feature in many workplace accidents since users often take safety for granted when using them. People wrongly assume that they know what they are doing since they frequently use ladders at home and they are a ’low-tech’ option, often used at not very great heights.
The truth is that ladders are dangerous and roofers should never forget that if they are not used properly they can become hazards. Before a roofer gets up a ladder, they should know how to check its condition, correctly position it and how to correctly tie it off. Employers should ensure their workers are trained properly in all these aspects of their use.