Roof safety isn’t always about edge protection. The edges might be the first place we ensure safety measures are adequate, but last year there were a shocking number of deaths occurring when workers fell through fragile roofs or rooflights, not off the edges of buildings or from scaffolding. In most cases no safety provisions had been made to take into account the possibility of a fall through a surface rather than off an edge.
The HSE prosecuted several companies and in some cases handed down penalties of more than £90,000. There are regulations that relate to fragile surfaces and they are just as important as those related to any other facet of roof safety. The fined companies may have been providing perfectly adequate guardrail fall protection at exposed points, but they had either ignored the rooflights or not realised the danger.
Working on and around fragile surfaces should be considered just as dangerous as working over a drop, or more- even a short fall will probably result in serious injury if there is broken glass and other debris over the landing site, or if a jagged, freshly broken edge comes into contact with the body on the way past.
It’s clear that fragile surfaces and rooflights need more attention from roof safety experts. Companies need to be made doubly aware of this kind of danger and of their responsibilities. Rooflights and thin, fragile roofs can be made safe for workers. If you’d like to know more about making this happen, get in touch and we’ll help you before an accident occurs!