Safe Access for Fragile Roofs


By Jason Godfrey, General Manager, Safesite Ltd

Importance of using a safe access systems on fragile roofs

The recent court case against a scaffolding company highlights the importance of conducting a site specific risk assessment, method statement and where necessary using fragile roof fall prevention products whenever fragile roof access is required.

St Albans Crown Court heard that father of one was placing scaffold boards along the roof ridge as part of a solar panel installation when he fell through the fragile roof to the concrete floor eight metres below. The worker suffered life changing injuries as a result of the fall.

The company pleaded guilty to breaching section 2 (1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act, 1974 and was fined £110,000 and ordered to pay £22,596 in cost after one of its workers suffered life changing injuries

Speaking after the hearing HSE Inspector Stephen Manley said:The company’s approach to health and safety was poor. They failed to properly and safely plan the work they were contracted to carry out and failed to supervise inexperienced young workers. The particular works would have been unfamiliar to the team and so the lack of thorough supervision was lamentable”

He concluded by stating that “When working at height, there is a high likelihood of serious injury or death if safe procedures are not put in place and adequate steps taken to ensure they are followed”.

Fragile Roof Falls

Falls through fragile materials continue to feature in the press and with an average of 8 people a year killed by such falls, it’s essential that work on fragile roofs or materials is properly planned.

There is a range of fragile roof access equipment available which is specifically designed to provide safe platforms for use on fragile materials and industrial roofs that prevent these types of accidents from happening.  It is essential that all operatives are properly trained and that such systems should be used in conjunction with a written risk assessment and safe working method.

Click here for more information on fragile roof access systems

Further information relating to fragile roof work can be found on the HSE Website

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