Safe Method Of Working On A Fragile Roof and Surfaces

Safe Method Of Working On A Fragile Roof and Surfaces

Many delicate surfaces and items around the home often require special care when being worked on. This is especially true for roofs, which can be easily damaged if not treated cautiously. This blog post will discuss a safe method of working on a fragile roof and surfaces without causing any damage. Stay safe and protect your property by following our tips!

Safe Method Of Working On A Fragile Roof and Surfaces

One of the most important things to remember when working on a fragile roof or surface is to take your time. Rushing through the job will only increase the chances of making mistakes and causing damage. Work slowly and deliberately, and double-check your work before moving on.

Another crucial tip is to use the proper tools for the job. Avoid using sharp objects or anything that could potentially scratch or puncture the surface. Soft, non-abrasive materials are ideal for working on delicate surfaces.

Finally, be sure to clean up any debris or messes that you make while working. Leaving behind nails, screws, or other sharp objects could create a hazard for anyone who steps on them. Always err on the side of caution and clean up any messes that you create.

Work on or near fragile surfaces is also covered by the Work at Height Regulations. Roof work, particularly work on pitched roofs, is hazardous and requires a specific risk assessment and method statement for a definition of a method statement) before the commencement of work. Particular hazards are fragile roofing materials, including those that deteriorate and become more brittle with age and exposure to sunlight, exposed edges, unsafe access equipment, and falls from girders, ridges, or purlins. There must be suitable means of access such as scaffolding, ladders, and crawling boards; suitable barriers, guard rails, or covers where people work near fragile materials and roof lights; and suitable warning signs indicating that a roof is fragile should be on display at ground level.

Where possible, work on a fragile roof should be avoided by doing the following: 

  • Work from underneath the roof using a suitable work platform or 
  • Where this is impossible, use a mobile elevating work platform that allows people to work from within the basket without standing on the roof.

If access to the fragile roof cannot be avoided, perimeter edge protection should be installed, and staging should be used to spread the load. Unless all the work and access is on staging or platforms fitted with guard rails, safety nets should be installed underneath the roof or a harness system used. Where a harness is used, adequate anchorage points will be required. 

A roof should always be fragile until a competent person has ruled otherwise. Fragility can be caused by:

  • general deterioration of the roof through aging, neglect, and lack of maintenance; 
  • corrosion of cladding and fixings; 
  • quality of the original installation and selection of materials; 
  • thermal and impact damage; 
  • deterioration of the supporting structure; and 
  • weather damage

Asbestos cement sheets and old roof lights should always be treated as fragile.

Other hazards are associated with roof work – overhead services and obstructions, asbestos or other hazardous substances, equipment such as gas cylinders and bitumen boilers, and manual handling hazards.

All roofs, once fixed, should be treated as fragile until a competent person has confirmed that they are nonfragile. In particular, the following are likely to be fragile:

  • fiber-cement sheets – non-reinforced sheets irrespective of profile type; 
  • liner panels – on built-up sheeted roofs; 
  • metal sheets – where corroded; 
  • glass – including wired glass; 
  • chipboard – or similar material where rotted; and 
  • roof lights.

It is essential that only trained and competent persons are allowed to work on roofs and that they wear footwear having a good grip. It is a good practice to ensure that a person does not work alone on a roof. Guidance from the Advisory Committee for Roof Work states that any person undertaking roof work needs to be mentally and physically fit, competent to do the work, and fully aware of all the dangers that exist and the actions necessary to overcome those dangers. The HSE has published the third edition of the guidance booklet on safety during roof work – HSG33, Health, and safety in roof work.

A roof ladder should only be used if more suitable equipment cannot be used and should only be used for low-risk, short-duration work. Roof ladders should be industrial-grade, in good condition, and secured to prevent movement. The anchorage at the top of the roof ladder should be by some method that does not depend on the ridge capping, as this is liable to break away from the ridge. The anchorage should bear on the opposite slope by a properly designed and manufactured ridge hook or be secured by other means. 

Roof work should not be attempted in poor weather conditions such as rain, ice, frost, or strong winds (particularly gusting) or if slippery conditions exist on the roof. Winds in excess of 23mph (Force 5) will affect the balance of a roof worker.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *