Working on Roofs – Guardrail Edge Protection

Posted by david.luukas

May15

Alumasc Guardrail

The latest ‘Working on Roofs’ document from the Health and Safety Executive highlights the importance of edge protection systems when working on flat roofs.  Alumasc’s Guardrail lightweight edge protection system is ideally suited to address this issue.

Working on flat roofs

Work on a flat roof is high risk. People can fall:

•   From the edge of a completed roof.

•   From the edge where work is being carried out.

•   Through openings or gaps.

Edge protection

Wherever anyone could fall, the first line of defence is to provide adequate edge protection to prevent a fall occurring. This should include or be equivalent to:

•   A main guard rail at least 950 mm above the edge.

•   A toe board and brick guard where there is risk of objects being kicked off the edge of the platform

•  A suitable number of intermediate guard rails or suitable alternatives positioned so that there is no gap more than 470 mm.

Sometimes a roof parapet may provide equivalent protection but if it does not, extra protection will be required.

Falls from the roof edge

Full edge protection (top rail, toe board and intermediate protection) is required whenever the work requires access within 2m of the roof perimeter. Edge protection is usually provided by an independent scaffold around the perimeter of the building or by barriers connected to the frame. An independent scaffold gives a higher standard of protection and a good standard of access along the structure. It also assists material loading and storage, e.g. when used with a fork lift/tele handler.

Where work is carried out 2 m back from the roof edge and no edge protection is in place, you should mark out the working area and routes to it with continuous physical barriers, tight supervision will be necessary.

Netting capable of providing edge protection in certain circumstances is now available.

Falls from the leading edge

Whatever system of work you choose, the presence of dangerous gaps is always a possibility as space is created to place the next leading edge sheet.

You must take precautions to prevent falls from these ‘leading’ edges. Nets and birdcage scaffolds are the preferred options in this instance. However, where these are not reasonably practicable you can consider using work restraint safety harnesses with running line systems or temporary barriers at the leading edge, e.g. trolley systems.

The Alumasc Guardrail range of lightweight edge protection systems is ideal for collective fall protection measures on flat roofs. Systems are supplied in kit form for easy handling and installation.

For more information on the Alumasc Guardrail range, click here, email roofing@alumasc-exteriors.co.uk or call 03335 771 500.

Source:  ‘Working on Roofs’ – Health and Safety Executive.

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