The hidden danger of industrial roofs

There is a hidden danger lurking on the roofs of industrial buildings in the UK.

Found mainly on warehouses and factories, often built when design regulations were less strict, fragile roofs can pose a serious risk to the lives of workers who may need to access them.

Maintaining plant and equipment, repairing and resealing the roof surface, or even cleaning roof gutters can require roof access, and common roof safety solutions such as guardrail and lifelines can do little to protect workers if the roof surface is fragile.

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The work at height hierarchy explained

When talking about working safely at height, we often reference the ‘work at height hierarchy of controls’. But what exactly are we talking about?

The hierarchy is a set of guidelines laid out in the Work at Height Regulations 2005 which aims to reduce the number of accidents that occur when working at height.

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Which safety gate is right for you?

Voids created by access and egress points are a serious risk to life and limb in any raised area or roof.

Whilst barriers and guardrailing will do much to protect those working in or accessing these areas, any system is rendered useless if the void created by an access point from steps or ladders is not protected.

Common solutions to this issue include chains or bars which are pulled across the gap. However, as we’ve previously discussed, these can do more harm than good. These solutions rely on the user replacing them once they have passed through the gap, which many often fail to do.

As well as this, these solutions can provide a false sense of security and might lead to someone leaning on them or grabbing them in case of a fall, leading to breakage and injury, or possibly worse.

So, what is the solution? That depends on just what kind of void you have.

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