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    CAMPAIGN PLANNED TO ‘CRACK’ FRAGILE ROOFS

    Solutions sought to intractable fragile roof death toll

    The HSE CONIAC Safety Working Group is planning to run a “Fragile Roofs Week” on the lines of safety weeks in other industry sectors with the aim of promoting awareness of the dangers and precautions when working on or near fragile roofs.

    Behavioural safety research into fragile roof/rooflight safety is in progress but CONIAC is keen to raise awareness and change attitudes more immediately.

    The July 2015 CONIAC meeting heard that the Safety Working Group have:

    “Invited representatives from various industry representative trade bodies, including the Builder’s Merchants Federation, to see what approach might be taken. BMF has been invited as, in a similar way to the last asbestos campaign where information packs were handed out via B&Q Trade Counter.

    It is felt they are well placed to target SMEs that do not belong to industry organisations and that this might be as simple as asking them to include some form of link on their invoices. What we actually do for that week remains to be considered more fully, though SMEs are the clear target.

    Though this is aimed at construction HSE’s agriculture sector has been invited as have the chairs from the English, Welsh and Scottish Farm Safety partnerships, as this is another sector that has a poor record in this area.”

    Comment

    The deaths and life-changing injuries which continue to arise from falls through fragile roofs must be a priority for HSE and the CONIAC Committee. The clear and freely available guidance is not being implemented on many smaller projects.

    However, we doubt that targeting SME contractors undertaking work on fragile roofs is the best remedy. More effective action should include high profile awareness and enforcement initiative focused on the owners and occupiers of buildings who procure the work and control access to these dangerous structures.

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