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There are several occupational groups that have to do work on roofs or windows and are constantly at risk of a life-threatening fall. This group includes roofers, window cleaners, construction workers and manual labourers, as well as maintenance and cleaning personnel who work on roofs of all kinds or perform work at heights.
To prevent life-threatening injuries in the event of a fall from the roof, a break-through or a slip, there are various protection methods and systems. The most common fall protection systems for working at height include safety nets, guard rails, safety roof hooks, securants and rope safety systems. Before installing fall arrest systems, a risk assessment must first be carried out for work at height. This will allow the risks to be properly assessed and the appropriate fall protection method to be selected.
Once the fall protection systems have been installed, they and the personal protective equipment against falls from a height (PPEgA) must be checked at regular intervals during their use to ensure that they are functioning properly. The use of checklists is suitable for both the risk analysis and the maintenance of the fall protection system. Thanks to their structured structure, no check is ignored and hazards as well as damage are detected at an early stage in an efficient manner. The prior risk assessment as well as the regular inspections of fall protection systems and personal protective equipment with checklists ensure safety for employees when working at heights.
Construction and maintenance work on roofs and at heights is dangerous and requires the installation of fall protection from a fall height of one metre. Its meaning is already hidden in the word composition: a fall protection system secures a person from falling.
A basic distinction is made between two types of fall protection devices:
Different legal requirements and criteria apply to fall protection for the various occupational groups, which the protection system must fulfil. Binding for all are the technical rules for workplaces ASR A2.1 "Protection against falls and falling objects, entering danger areas".
In addition, Annex 5.2 para. 2 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act contains clear regulations that apply specifically to construction work. But the Workplace Ordinance and the Accident Prevention Regulations of the Construction Industry Employers' Liability Insurance Association also deal with fall protection, and the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) has formulated some regulations on accident prevention during roofing work.
But even independent of legal rules and regulations, fall protection pays off for employers. Fall protection increases the employees' sense of safety and relieves them mentally. This allows them to fully concentrate on their work and deliver better results.
As a general rule for fall protection, collective hazard protection always takes precedence over individual protection. Depending on nature, duration of the activity and physical strain, as well as the condition of the standing position and standing surfaces, the need for fall protection may also be determined for a lower fall height. A fall hazard can already exist at a fall height of only one metre.
A fall protection system must be used in workplaces and traffic routes on or above materials in which it is possible to sink, regardless of the fall height. Therefore, it is important to carry out a risk assessment for work at height for every construction project or maintenance work in order to be able to assess the situation correctly.
In addition to those already listed previously, the following further criteria are taken into account in the risk assessment:
In the case of new buildings, planners and building owners must ensure that suitable fall protection is in place, both during the construction phase and for the subsequent use, maintenance and care of the roof surfaces, but also of subordinate components such as solar installations, following a risk assessment. This planning can be discussed with the Safety Officer during the construction project in order to be able to implement the necessary changes directly.
Depending on the area of use and the purpose of the fall protection system, conscientious planning supports the safety of workers and the environment. The fall protection systems have different properties, which are better or worse suited for the respective protection purpose. Therefore, important questions must be clarified in advance after the risk assessment in order to be able to decide on the right measures:
With the help of a checklist, these questions can be clarified step by step and discussed in the team. In addition, the upcoming implementation of the measures can also be planned and completed in a structured way with a checklist.
There are a variety of fall protection systems on the market, which makes it all the more crucial to draw the right conclusions from the risk assessment. Depending on the nature of the working environment and the workplace only certain measures can be implemented at all:
Checklists are excellent for assessing the risks of working at height, installing fall protection systems and carrying out regular maintenance. With them, all questions can be clarified step by step and hazards can be reliably assessed. Checklists minimise the risk of forgetting inspections and overlooking inspection points.
Lumiform's mobile app and desktop software enables users to implement checklists in digital form. This offers them many other advantages. All responsible persons can access the respective checklists at any time and from any location. If problems occur and corrective measures become necessary, they can be informed immediately from the app.
In addition, clean, transparent documentation helps to prevent high fines for non-compliance with legal regulations. Building owners, planners and safety officers benefit from many other advantages when checking fall protection with Lumiform: