Keeping workers safe on industrial roofs
Modern industrial roofs in Scotland are littered with hazards which could cause injury when carrying out work such as plant maintenance or repair.
Obstacles can range from things like cable beds or raised pipework, to sudden drops in level and fragile or dangerous areas.
As always, avoiding working at height is always preferable according to the work at height hierarchy. Where possible, you should try to carry out the work from ground level.
Where this is not possible, you should ensure that anyone accessing the roof to do the work is competent and trained, as well as fully prepared with an up to date risk assessment and statement.
A huge part of keeping workers safe on industrial roofs, however, is ensuring that the correct safety equipment is used when accessing the roof. Standard permanent equipment such as guardrails and lifelines may not always meet the needs of the task or the roof you are working on; however, this does not mean you should neglect safety equipment altogether.
Roof Edge offers a range of equipment designed specifically to keep workers safe on industrial roofs, where more common safety equipment may not be suitable, or where it exists but does not totally meet your requirements.
More people fall through roofs than over the edge of roofs, making the issue of fragile roofs an important one, though many are unaware of the dangers posed.
Roofs can become fragile over time due to natural wear and tear, or they might have been fragile from the start. Roof panels can appear safe at first, but might collapse when they are stepped on.
We supply a range of portable, non-penetrative fragile roof products such as Board-Walk, a temporary, walkway system which allows work to be carried out on the roof whilst spreading the load across the support battens.
Board-Walk is open mesh and lightweight, and can even be linked together in 4m sections to form a longer walkway. Board-Walk is ideal for short duration roof work such as resealing.
Alternatively, for roofs with a valley gutter, we offer the Valley Walk system. A mobile walking frame for up to two people, Valley Walk aids access along valley gutters as well as providing mobile roof cover. The cushioned aluminium mesh outriggers can also carry light payloads such as tools.
Our most comprehensive protection for fragile roof work, however, is the Roof-Walk system, a fully guarded rolling platform, mounted onto twin tracks, allowing workers to move safely up and down the roof. Roof-Walk is non-penetrative and spreads the load similarly to Board-Walk, making it ideal for similar tasks but on a greater scale.
Changes in level and obstacles
Sudden changes in level and obstacles such as pipework and cable trays can be a serious hazard when carrying out work on industrial roofs. Plant and equipment such as air conditioning units often have large cable trays, or vents which may block clear routes.
Step-Overs and Access Platforms are made from modular steel or aluminium Kee fittings, meaning they are simple and quick to install, and will remain safe and durable for years to come. The modular design also means they are simple and easy to repair should they become damaged through use.
For scenarios where a full platform or Step-Over system is not suitable, we also offer a Mini Step-Over solution.
Skylights are another common danger on industrial roofs. Though they are required by law to be able to take the weight of a person upon installation, there is no requirement for this once installed. As such, a skylight can be considered ‘fragile’ the moment it is in place.
Over time, weather can make the skylight brittle or even conceal it from view, making it an even greater danger to those accessing the roof. Though skylights should always be highlighted in risk assessments and avoided when carrying out work, the best way to protect workers on the roof is by installing a safety system designed to protect against skylights.
Kee® Cover protects against the dangers of fragile skylights quickly and easily with a strong mesh panel mounted onto a metal frame. Available in two formats, Kee Cover® can be fixed virtually flat to the roof surface or mounted on small legs, providing a greater distance between the mesh panel and the skylight.
Our fully compliant skylight protection system is the ideal solution to keeping workers safe around these common roof risks, without blocking light into your building.
For more information about any of our industrial roof products, call Roof Edge on 0141 949 1014 or use our online contact form. You can also view our full range here.