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    FRAGILE ROOFS FILM HIGHLIGHTS FRAGILITY OF LIFE

    CITB and HSE target intractable cause of site deaths

    Our regular readers cannot have helped noticing that falls through fragile roofs and rooflights feature reqularly in our reports of deaths, injuries and accounts of HSE prosecutions.

    HSE state that 9 people die every year after falling through such fragile roofs. This death toll has changed very little over the last 30 years.

    In a move to highlight this intractable problem the CITB has worked with the HSE to produce a new awaress film and advice entitled Fragile Roofs – Fragile Lives which takes a personal look at the devastating effects falls through fragile roofs has on family and friends. 

     

    Essential viewing for all involved with fragile roofs 

    Heather Bryant, HSE’s Chief Inspector of Construction said:

    “Everybody – from landlords and tenants to surveyors and maintenance workers – should think about the risks of falling through fragile roofs, and the devastating effect an accident can have on them, their families and friends. 

    These accidents can and should be prevented. Always plan the work, however quick and simple it first appears, and do not go onto a fragile roof without taking steps to prevent a fall through it. 

    I encourage everyone involved in arranging, planning, managing and doing work on fragile roofs to watch and share this film”

    Advice on basic precautions

    Falls through fragile roofs and fragile roof lights cause death and serious injury. They account for almost a fifth of all the fatal accidents which result from a fall from height in the construction industry.

    Almost all of these fatalities arise from construction work in some form or another although not always on what might be regarded as a construction site, much of which work is minor and short duration.These accidents usually happen while:

    • Surveying the roof or inspecting roof work
    • Cleaning gutters and skylights
    • Installing equipment
    • Maintaining plant on the roof
    • Carring out repairs to the roof, skylights or gutters
    • Re-roofing
    • Demolition

    Everyone involved in this type of work, including clients, designers and contractors, should treat falls through fragile surfaces as a priority hazard. If you need to work on or access a fragile roof or surface, no matter how short the duration, you must plan and manage the work to ensure it’s done safely.

    You must provide the right equipment to prevent falls and ensure those using it have the right skills and experience to work safely.

    These steps should be followed when considering work on or near fragile roofs and surfaces:

    1. Avoidance: Plan and organise work to keep people away from fragile surfaces so far as possible, e.g. by working from below the surface on a mobile elevating work platform or other suitable platform.
    2. Control: Work on or near fragile surfaces requires a combination of stagings, guard rails, fall restraint, fall arrest and safety nets slung beneath and close to the roof.
    3. Communication: Those carrying out the work must be trained, competent and instructed in use of the precautions required. Warning notices must be fixed on the approach to any fragile surface.
    4. Co-operation: On business premises, contractors should work closely with the client and agree arrangements for managing the work.

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