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SAFER FRAGILE ROOF REPAIR SYSTEM

Toll of deaths and life-changing injuries can be reduced

The most frequently published accounts of deaths, life-changing injuries and HSE prosecutions on the PP Construction Safety website arise from falls through fragile materials and especially fragile roofsheets and rooflights on industrial building.

This toll of death and injury has continued unabated for over 60 years. The government Report on Safety and Health in the Building and Civil Engineering Industries 1954-1958 published in 1960 stated that:

“Falls through roofing materials could largely be avoided if the provisions of Regulation 31 (Building Regulations 1948) were observed. The practice of attempting to walk along the line of a purlin in the belief that is safe …..is a major cause of accidents”

Despite the passage of years HSE and the Construction Industry Advisory Committee (CONIAC) struggle to find ways of grappling with this endemic cause of harm.

Rooflight and sheet replacement solution available

These incidents are preventable by using systems of work which involve replacement safely by working from below the roof. The hazard of falling through the roof is thereby eliminated.

The Filon Fixsafe system involves this approach and has been available for a number of years. Filon explain that their system ensures there is no need to access fragile roofs for such work.

This approach matches the HSE Guidance Fragile Roofs – Safe Working Practices which states:

“Avoid workers having to go on the roof at all by adapting a method that allows profiled roof sheets or rooflights to be replaced from underneath using a suitable work platform – this may involve the use of adapted roof fixings…”

The Filon system is designed to allow profiled roof sheets or rooflights to be replaced from below thus eliminating the need to access dangerous fragile roofs. The requirement for safety netting, roof staging, fall protection or external scaffolding is eliminated and access equipment costs are minimised.

Filon report that HSE responded positively to the introduction of the Fixsafe system as a means of allowing those involved in repairing fragile roofs to work fully in compliance with Regulation 9 of the Working at Height Regulations 2005.

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