Whether you’re constructing roofs or working at height to maintain roofing, safety equipment is a necessity to keep you and your workers safe. When compiling your list of height safety requirements, you’ll discover the importance of roof anchor points and fall arrest systems. Numerous other work safety items will also need to be included on your list so you and your team are always safe when working on roofs.
Roofing safety equipment is designed to prevent or minimise dangerous workplace accidents from happening. In countries such as Australia, stringent laws are put in place to protect the health and safety of all workers, including those working at height. By protecting your team when working under hazardous conditions, you’re also abiding by regulations stipulated in your industry.
But how much time and energy should you put into this aspect of your job? Read on to find out why it’s a priority to stay up to date regarding roof anchor points and other safety equipment when doing roofing work.
What the Law Says About Working at Heights
Each country has its own set of regulations for industries involved in working at heights. In Australia, the Occupational Health and Safety Act clearly stipulates the duties of the person responsible for ensuring the safety of all employees working at height. It’s the responsibility of any business conducting work at height, to ensure all safety measures are installed before any such task commences.
If you’re unsure of what the standards and code of practices are when performing any kind of work at height, you could speak to an expert in the field. They’ll be able to advise you on the best height safety equipment for your specific roofing work.
Understanding the Different Types of Height Safety Systems
Falls from height account for many fatalities as well as injuries in the workplace. However, these statistics could have looked much different if the correct safety measures had been put in place on all work sites. Understanding the different types of height safety systems used for fall protection will help to prevent your workers becoming one of these numbers.
Fall Prevention System
The fall prevention system is designed to keep your workers safe while working at height. It includes safety equipment and measures to stop a fall from actually happening in the first place. This could include items such as barricades, safety gates or equipping your worker with a personal fall arrest or restraint system.
The fall prevention system should be the first step taken towards ensuring the safety of your team working at heights.
Fall Arrest System
The fall arrest system is designed to halt the fall of a worker who starts falling from height. This system includes equipment such as netting, anchor lines and other devices that can hold a falling body while preventing it from hitting the ground. The fall arrest system is absolutely essential when fall prevention is not sufficient for protecting the worker at height.
A fall arrest system needs to be anchored in order to function optimally and this is where proper installation of roof anchor points play an important role.
Fall Restraint System
A fall restraint system is used to prevent the worker from going too close to an unprotected edge that could result in a nasty fall. This is done by using connections such as a lanyard and anchor point. The lanyard is adjustable, allowing the workers to move freely while performing tasks but keeps them away from the fall edge.
Using a fall restraint system does require the user to be well-trained in using the equipment properly while on the roof or working elsewhere at height.
Roof Access System
Specific equipment has been designed to be included in roof access systems. This system allows for optimal working conditions while working safely on roofing projects. Equipment such as ladders that can be fixed, folded-down and are portable are vital components of any roof access system. Other safety items include roof anchor points, lines and bridges for ease of access.
Installing roof access hatches also makes this system a safer option for workers carrying out repairs and maintenance on roofs.
Rope Access Systems
Rope access systems make it easier and safer for your workers gaining entry at different points while ascending or descending heights. These systems are designed to assist your technicians while using ropes at height and operating from a harness. These systems often eliminate the need for scaffolding on site.
In Australia, all industrial rope access systems are governed by the AS/NZS 4488.2-1997 standards and should be adhered to when using this system as fall protection.
Other Safety Equipment You Need for Roofing
Besides ensuring you use fall protection systems to protect your workers whenever they’re working on roofs, other safety equipment should be factored in. These should include the following:
- Personal protective equipment: Safety goggles, hard hats, gloves, ear plugs, steel toed boots and safety vests are some examples of PPE your team should be kitted out with.
- Respiratory protection: Protection against airborne particles that pose respiratory risks, such as crystalline silica, should be included.
When compiling your inventory for health and safety purposes, ensure it fully meets the standards stipulated for working at heights. This way you can rest assured your team is safe and you’re meeting the legal requirements of performing roofing work. Give yourself and your workers some peace of mind!