In 2019 pre Covid 19, the number of deaths throughout London whilst at work, was at its highest for many years.
According to the Health and Safety Executive, a huge percentage of these avoidable deaths at work stemmed from work at height, with falls from height making up almost half of all total deaths; shining an ever brighter light and real focus upon Fall Protection solutions.
Workplace injuries and deaths have had a huge impact on the London economy, with a total cost of £1.2bn in 2018/2019; more importantly, they are taking their toll on the families and friends of those lost.
With over 800 enforcement notices served by the HSE in London alone in 2017, it seems employers across London can be doing more to mitigate risks and dangers to their employees.
After effective training and comprehensive management safety policies, the best thing you can do to minimise the risk of injury and death at work is by providing the right equipment to keep your employees safe.
According to the work at height hierarchy, guardrail systems are the preferred and safest solution for protecting against falls when carrying out work at height. Unlike other alternatives such as safety lifeline systems, guardrails are a collective protection system, always active, require no training or PPE and have no or few working parts.
Rooftop guardrail systems are generally positioned at the edge of the roof, to protect against falls over the edge, but can also be used to create barriers around fragile areas. Guardrails not only protect workers carrying out roof maintenance but will protect anyone accessing your roof, with or without permission.
At Safesite in London City, we can design and install a bespoke rooftop guardrail system for any site or building, in the form of the effective modular KeeGuard system. A hard-wearing and innovative roof barrier system, KeeGuard can be used for both temporary and permanent edge protection.
The modular design means no hot works are needed for installation or maintenance and allows for easy section replacement if damage occurs – though the hot-dip galvanised construction means these tough guardrails can withstand almost anything the Scottish weather can throw at them.
If a guardrail isn’t suitable for your roof due to lack of space or awkward design, then a safety lifeline system is your next option.
Rooftop Safety Lifeline systems are generally made up of a horizontal lifeline anchor system, used with a lanyard and a full body harness. Lifeline systems are usually used as either fall restraint or fall arrest systems, either preventing a worker from falling over an edge entirely or allowing more freedom of movement and arresting a fall should one occur.
The KeeLine lifeline system offers all the benefits of an effective lifeline system, with a unique rail and traveller design to allow for unparalleled freedom of movement across almost the entire roof. What’s more, the 8mm grade stainless steel wire and 12m span potential allows for up to three workers at once, maximising efficiency.
Despite this risk, many building owners are hesitant to cover skylights up, as they provide much-needed light into otherwise dark buildings. We know there’s a balance between plunging workers into darkness and putting them at risk, which is why we supply and install KeeCover, an ideal solution for protecting workers from falls through fragile roofs without blocking natural light.
A robust and modular roof light cover system, the fully-compliant mesh design of the KeeCover allows light through whilst stopping any potential falls due to slips and trips. Available in either raised or flush format, the KeeCover can be easily transported to your site and installed quickly, minimising disruption.
Skylights aren’t the only potential risk to roof workers. Most falls from roofs happen directly through the roof surface rather than over the edge, with damaged or poorly maintained roof panels and surfaces posing a serious hidden danger.
In 2018, a London construction firm was fined almost £10,000 after a joiner fell through a roof void on-site, suffering life-changing injuries.
Though guardrails and lifelines should be used where practicable, you can also protect your workers out on the roof with a walkway system, such as Kee Walk.
Kee Walk is a raised roof walkway system that highlights potentially dangerous areas and provides a clear, demarcated route. It also protects the roof from further, unnecessary foot traffic. Sturdy and modular like the rest of the Kee range of roof safety equipment, Kee Walk is a fantastic solution to keeping workers safe on roofs.
Creating a safe route across roofs is a good idea, but can be difficult when you consider all the clutter and obstacles found on modern-day roofs. Everything from plant and equipment to trip hazards such as cable trays can make traversing a roof difficult or even impossible, even with the aid of a roof walkway such as Kee Walk.
Thankfully, there is a safe and effective solution to overcoming these hazards in the form of access platforms and stepover platforms, which allow workers to step over obstacles and hazards safely.
At Safesite, we can design, supply, and install standard and bespoke access platforms and step-overs to overcome any obstacle quickly and easily. What’s more, our systems are entirely modular, allowing you to combine them with Kee Walk roof walkways and KeeGuard barrier systems to create a comprehensive roof safety system.
No matter what system you use on your roofs and raised areas, they all have one thing in common: as the property manager or owner, you have a legal responsibility to ensure they are regularly inspected and recertified.
By not ensuring that your systems are regularly inspected and recertified by a competent third party, you are putting workers in your care at risk.
More information about the BIG changes to BS 7883:2019, and the possible implications to thousands of installed Fall Protection Systems can be found in this article.
A safer future for London
Although work injury and fatality rates have dropped dramatically in recent years, far too many people are still hurt and even killed at work each year across London City.
As the London City national leading premier fall protection safety provider, we at Safesite are striving to do our bit to keep London workers safe on roofs across London city, by supplying the most suitable and effective solutions for all our clients.
To chat about how we might be able to help you with your roof safety requirements, give us a call at 01293 529977, or fill in the form below and one of our experienced team will contact you.