It is well known fact that working on rooftops can be a very dangerous activity. Indeed, falls from height are responsible for the majority of deaths and serious injuries which effect professionals whose duties require them to work on rooftops.
To be sure, it doesn’t matter if an aerial worker is likely to be carrying out their duties briefly or for a long period of time – the risks involved are exactly the same. In fact, individuals who briefly go up on a rooftop to carry out a quick inspection or meet out a ‘quick fix’ are often more at risk than individuals who work on roofs all the time as they will more than likely have fewer safety measures available to them.
When most people think of falls from rooftops, their first thought tends to be of going over the edge. Whilst this is of course very relevant, there are other rooftop hazards which can be every bit as dangerous. Indeed, gaps, holes, fragile surfaces and sky lights can all be fallen through if an aerial worker takes a wrong step or looses their footing.
So, it is clear to see that there really are a significant number of risks and hazards present on rooftops.
Therefore, the next logical step to consider is: what is the best way to reduce or eliminate these threats?
It is essential that all rooftop related aerial tasks are carefully planned before they are carried out. Planning enables all of the risks involved to be adequately assessed and for suitable measures to be put in place which will hopefully stop them from being a threat to workers. The single most important thing which needs to be considered before undertaking an aerial task is whether or not it is completely warranted. Without doubt, any task that is not deemed to be 100% necessary should be cancelled and reassessed.
Once an aerial task has been suitably assessed, the next step is to make sure the appropriate protective measures are in place. In essence, this mean making sure there are effective guardrail systems and edge protection measures present on the rooftop.
Guardrails are invaluable as they are the very best solution when it comes to looking after collective aerial health and safety concerns. This is important as collective protection systems (such as guardrails) should always take precedence over personal protection systems (such as harnesses). However, if a roof design is such that the risk of falling cannot be eliminated altogether, then alternative solutions such as fall arrest harness systems must be installed as these will help to minimise the distance and consequences of any potential fall.
Without doubt, the installation of preventative safety measures and/or suitably reactive protective apparatus can help to reduce an aerial worker’s chances of falling from a rooftop considerably.
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