Top safety tips when onsite
With one in five deaths in the construction industry related to roofing work, it is vital for contractors to prioritise safety. With the latest Government advice, that has allowed the housebuilding and construction sector to return to work over recent weeks, we examine the importance of following best practices and training guidance to ensure safety is not compromised at any time on-site.
With appropriate training through programmes such as CPDs, apprenticeships and NVQs, roofers can ensure their methods for working are safe and compliant with the latest health and safety regulations. When armed with the correct knowledge, contractors have the skills and knowledge to be able to competently assess their working environment and take steps to ensure safety for themselves and their colleagues.
Working at height is considered a high-risk activity among professionals in the construction industry. Whether it’s a roofing contractor with more than 30 years of on-the-job experience, or a newly qualified apprentice, it is essential that before commencing work, they have assessed potential hazards and adapted working methods accordingly so they are not placed at risk.
Considering the nature of the job requires roofers to spend a lot of time working on ladders, additional training opportunities should be considered to ensure that equipment is being used as safely as possible. The Health and Safety Executive found that 40% of falls from heights happen on ladders, with the majority occurring while roofers were working on roof maintenance. The risk of this can be greatly reduced and managed with comprehensive training. Learning how to safely access roofs and using restraint systems can in some cases even prevent fatal accidents from happening at all.
Safety on-site can be further improved with contractors being given training on the safe lifting of heavy weights. With roofers often required to lift heavy materials, it is imperative care is taken to ensure injuries are avoided. This can be achieved by making contractors aware of the correct alignment of hips and knees when lifting, and ensuring they are taking regular breaks to avoid fatigue.
Alongside working with heavy loads and accessing heights safely, roofers should be mindful that health and safety standards also extends to the correct personal protection equipment (PPE), a legal requirement when working on-site. Not only does PPE protect roofers against sustaining injuries as a result of falls or other accidents, it can also prevent health issues from exposure to asbestos.
Furthermore, with the nature of the job requiring contractors to spend a lot of time outdoors, they are naturally more exposed to adverse weather conditions. With high winds, heavy rainfall and low visibility all impacting the level of risk that comes from working on a roof, contractors can improve their safety by following correct guidance from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015 states that when outdoor work is arranged, workers are provided with the correct equipment and clothing to ensure they are protected during cold snaps and periods of low visibility. What’s more, regular training will ensure contractors stay up to date and well informed on standards and building regulations, equipping them to deal with sudden changes to working conditions.
Site safety is something which affects an entire team working on a construction project, so, to ensure health and safety is a priority, site managers should invest in CPDs from manufacturers such as Forticrete. Manufacturers will take the time to discuss up to date regulations, while highlighting best practice guidelines. In attending these organised training sessions, installers and construction managers can ensure they are up to date with the most recent standards and regulations. Not only does this result in a team’s ability to confirm their compliance, but it also minimise a the risks of falls and other serious injuries from occurring.
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