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HSE SPELL OUT CLIENT DUTY ON FRAGILE ROOF RISK

Clients must take action to avoid perennial cause of construction deaths

HSE has published new guidance on the risk presented by fragile roofs. It is aimed at building owners and occupiers, construction businesses and workers.

On average 7 people die each year after falling through a fragile roof or fragile roof light and many others suffer permanent disabling injury. Such falls account for almost a fifth of all fatal falls from height in the construction industry.

The deaths primarily involve those working in the building maintenance sector carrying out small, short-term maintenance and cleaning jobs on the roofs of factories, warehouses and farm buildings.

The following are likely to be fragile: old roof lights; old liner panels on built-up sheeted roofs; non-reinforced fibre cement sheets; corroded metal sheets; glass (including wired glass); rotted chipboard; and slates and tiles.

Five key actions for building owners or occupiers

HSE state that before work starts building owners and occupiers should ensure:

  • Assessment – roof is assessed by a competent person using a safe system of work;
  • Planning work is planned by a contractor with sufficient expertise on fragile roof working;
  • Specification – non-fragile assemblies are specified for new and replacement roofs;
  • Time – contractors have allowed sufficient time to carry out the work safely; and
  • Implementation – the planned safe system of work is implemented.

HSE provide guidance on how to control the risk. Priority should be given to adopting a method that allows profiled roof sheets or roof lights to be replaced from underneath using a suitable work platform.

Prevention can also be achieved by using a mobile elevating work platform (MEWP) that allows people to work from within the basket without standing on the roof itself.

Where working from below or from a MEWP is not possible other preventive measures must be used e.g edge protection and stagings; safety nets underneath the roof and harness systems. Where harnesses are used there must be adequate anchorage points.

All systems of work must be properly implemented through discipline, training and supervision.

Expect HSE enforcement action on failure to control risk

Working on fragile surfaces is described as “extremely dangerous and the precautions are well established”. The legal requirement is to organise and plan all roof work so it is carried out safely.

HSE confirm that If inspectors encounter failure to control risk the work will be prohibited and prosecution may follow.

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12 Responses to “HSE SPELL OUT CLIENT DUTY ON FRAGILE ROOF RISK”

  1. FARMER FINED OVER FRAGILE ROOFLIGHT DEATH | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] all too common and can result in serious or even fatal injuries. Work must be properly planned and appropriate safety equipment provided to minimise the risks […]

  2. CLIENT HELD TO ACCOUNT FOR CONTRACTOR FATALITY | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] from height deaths in the construction and building maintenance sectors. HSE has recently published updated guidance explaining the actions which clients should take to control the risk and comply with their CDM […]

  3. HSE CONSTRUCTION CHIEF ON 2013 PRIORITIES | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] Mr White also reported that HSE had noticed an increase fatal falls through fragile roofs. On average there are six fatalities each year from falls through fragile surfaces, but initial figures show an increase in this number over the past 6-9 months. He added: “We’re not sure why this is, it could be that the bad weather has damaged more roofs and made for more repairs, which tended to be carried out by jobbing builders, which are a hard-to-reach target. We certainly need to try to raise our game in this area.”  […]

  4. DIRECTOR PROSECUTED AFTER REMAINING SILENT | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] roof or fragile roof light. Many others suffer permanent disabling injury. However, falls can be easily prevented by careful planning, using trained and experienced workers with suitable equipment and employing a […]

  5. FIT-OUT WORKMAN FELL THROUGH FRAGILE ROOF | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] is therefore essential that effective management arrangements are in place to ensure risks are managed and workers are protected. Fragile roof covers provide […]

  6. HAZARD IDENTIFIED, RISK ASSESSED …CONTROL ABSENT | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] few simple precautions by MD Construction Ltd could have prevented this incident from happening in the first place. Where […]

  7. PROJECT CLIENT RESPONSIBLE FOR FRAGILE ROOF FALL | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] Companies should make sure that they find out how contractors intend to carry out work on their roof…and take specialist advice if they’re not sure whether the proposed method of work is safe.” […]

  8. SOLAR PANEL CONTRACTOR FINED OVER FRAGILE FALL | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] on the outside of the farm building, but failed to act to adequately prevent a fall or to provide safety measures internally e.g. safety nets or scaffold to mitigate the effects of a […]

  9. CLIENT FINED £250K AND PRISON TERM FOR CONTRACTOR | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] “Michael Sweet sadly lost his life because neither Aramex nor Gary Edwards put enough thought into his safety while working on a fragile warehouse roof. […]

  10. CLIENT PROSECUTED AFTER SCAFFOLDER DEATH | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] straightforward, commonsense procedures could have saved Mr Stone’s […]

  11. UNSAFE CLEANING OF GUTTERS OVER MANY YEARS | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] company had a risk assessment that stated control measures would be needed for roof working, including creating a safe working platform with scaffold boards, […]

  12. FALL THROUGH ROOF DURING ROOFLIGHT REPLACEMENT | PP Construction Safety News Desk Says:

    […] Client responsibilities for work on fragile roofs […]