Keeping Safe When Working On Roofs

    As the seasons change to wet, cold and windy weather, both domestic and commercial properties can experience damage to their roofs. Even at the height of summer roofing can be hard and dangerous work, with these risks only further amplified in the autumn and winter months.

    Sadly severe roofing issues do not wait for the weather to clear up before occurring, so contractors can frequently find themselves working in less than ideal conditions. That being said safety must be at the forefront, and not just for the roofers. There are a range of contingencies that need to be in place to also protect members of the public and surrounding properties.

    In this article we will cover some of the primary factors that roofing contractors should be mindful of to keep safe working conditions.

    Obtain Safe Access & Working Areas

    When assessing a job the primary factor should be ensuring that the working area is both safe to access and continue to operate on. With damaged roofs this can understandably be a challenge, loose tiles and massively degraded surfaces both mean that caution should be used and a full assessment take place before any worker is cleared to work on the roof for any span of time.

    Access solutions will vary based on the building and the projects requirements. For longer jobs, or those that are part of a larger build, general access scaffolding is the most secure option with the correct implementation. Even for shorter jobs of a few minutes the correct ladder with roofing hook should be used on sloping roofs.

    Use Personal Protective Equipment, Even For Short Working Periods

    Minimising strain and risk to workers using PPE is a common sense step, but sadly one not fully adopted on smaller sites. Work on a roofing job likely requires:

    • Workmen’s trouser – to prevent cuts, grazes and other injuries from rough or sharp materials. Never wear shorts when roofing
    • Steel toe capped boots (or the equivalent) – both the toe cap and midsole protection can assist you in keeping debris from dropping on feet and from sharp object penetrating from below
    • High visibility clothing – should be worn at all times when on site to keep visibility for vehicles when ascending or descending the roof
    • Knee pads – kneeling is frequently required as part of a roofers job, which will cause strain and damage even over a short time period.

    Adapt To The Weather

    Spring & Summer

    During hotter periods of the year it’s essential that proper precautions are taken to encourage workers to protect themselves. Wearing light clothing under their high visibility clothing is a good way to stay as cool as possible and not restrict movement.

    Suncream and breaks in the shade, where the working area has none, are both crucial to prevent sunburn and heat stroke. Water should be kept safely nearby as well to allow workers to stay hydrated, although this should be stored appropriately to reduce the risk of drop hazards.

    Autumn & Winter

    Where the weather turns colder thicker clothing is required, however it’s essential that this doesn’t restrict any movement required for the job. The correct gloves in particular are crucial, fall rates increase in colder months due to numb hands making slipping grips and stumbling more prevalent.

    Protect From Potential Accident Claims

    Accidents are sadly inevitable, and for roofers this can mean a serious event such as severe injury or even death. For those operating a business, or as an independent, then roofing contractors insurance is crucial to reduce the impact of a claim.

    Where injury or death are concerned a potential liability case brought against you can be financially devastating. Ensuring you are adequately protected when working on site is a crucial part of being a roofing contractor, and these risks extend far beyond typical health and safety, you also need to ensure you are secure when an accident or incident does occur.

    Such cover can be created to be uniform, meaning you can acquire essential cover such as public liability as well as optional protection such as business interruption insurance. This means you can obtain one policy to effectively manage most risk cases, one premium cost and one contact in the event of a claim.