Why is it beneficial to use a fall protection checklist when working on a roof?
Roofers perform a majority of their work on roofs, constantly exposing themselves to the risk of a life-threatening fall. To prevent a fall from the edge of a roof, a blowout or a slip, a risk assessment must be performed before work begins. This will allow fall hazards to be properly assessed and the appropriate fall protection system to be selected.
Common fall protection systems include secruants, safety roof hooks and rope safety systems. This personal protective equipment against falls from a heightalso needs to be checked regularly for proper functioning during its use.
Both for the hazard analysis and for the maintenance of fall protection during roof work, checklists are an adequate tool. Due to their structured design, no inspection point is disregarded and hazards are identified in an efficient manner. Fall protection requirements for roof work can be more easily reviewed before and during the job.
This article deals with:
Why fall protection is necessary for roof work
The meaning of a fall protection device is already hidden in the root word: A fall protection device protects people from falling. A fall protection device is a device that:
- is suitable for preventing a fall in hazardous areas (primary fall protection)
- catching people or material in the event of a fall (secondary fall protection)
In the technical rules for workplaces ASR A2.1 “Protection against falls and falling objects, entering danger areas”, a fall protection is defined as a “compulsory effective device that prevents a fall even without the conscious participation of the employees, e.g. a perimeter […] or cover”.
The ASR A2.1 is one of the basic regulations in the installation of fall protection. In addition, Annex 5.2 para. 2 of the Workplace Ordinance contains clear regulations that apply specifically to construction work. But the Occupational Safety and Health Act also addresses fall protection, and the German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) has formulated some regulations for accident prevention during roof work.
But even far from regulations, fall protection is useful. It does not always have to be the worst case scenario (fall) for an anchor point and simple protective equipment to pay off, for example. Fall protection increases employees’ need for safety and relieves them mentally. This allows them to fully concentrate on their job and deliver better work.
The risk assessment for roof work
The general rule for fall protection for roof work is that from a height of three meters, there must be a safeguard for the roofer place. It is always the case that collective hazard protection takes precedence over individual protection.
Depending on the type, duration of the activity and physical strain, as well as the nature of the stand and the standing areas, the need for fall protection can also be determined for a lower fall height. A fall hazard may exist at a fall height of only one meter.
A fall protection system must be used at workplaces and traffic routes on or above materials in which it is possible to sink in, regardless of the fall height. Therefore, it is important to conduct a risk assessment for any construction project or maintenance work to evaluate the situation properly.
In addition to those already mentioned here, the following other criteria are considered in the risk assessment:
- the distance from the edge of the fall
- the nature of lower lying surfaces (e.g. water, debris, concrete, etc.)
- the condition of the working environment and hazardous external influences (e.g. visibility, weather conditions, etc.)
Why is good planning with checklist important?
Depending on the application and purpose of fall protection for roof work, conscientious planning supports the safety of workers and the surrounding area. Secruants, safety roof hooks as well as rope safety systems have different characteristics, which are more or less suitable for different purposes. Therefore, important questions must be clarified in advance in order to decide on measures:
- Is collective protection feasible or must individual protection be resorted to?
- Should individual protection be conceived as a restraint system or a catchment system?
- Are there factors that prevent the use of certain systems?
On the basis 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 implemented in a structured manner with a checklist.
The ranking of fall protection measures for roof work
Once the risk assessment has been carried out, it is necessary to consider which measures are suitable for fall protection for roof work in the individual case. In this regard, structural and technical measures always take precedence over organizational and individual ones.
- Fall protection
This refers to the collective fall protection for roof work, railing systems, side protection, etc.
- Absorbing devices
If no fall protection can be used for operational reasons, fall arrest systems (e.g. fall arrest nets, fall-through grids) must be installed.
- Personal protective equipment against falls from a height (PPEgA)
If no fall protection or fall arrest equipment can be set up, personal protective equipment against falls from a height (PPEgA) must be used as an individual protective measure. The basis for this is the presence of suitable anchorage devices to which users can reliably attach their protective equipment. Employees must be instructed in the use and trained to implement necessary rescue measures.
- Do not use a safety device
If the nature and progress of the activity and special features of the workplace do not permit the aforementioned protective measures, the use of PPEgA may be waived under special circumstances if:
- the fall edge is clearly recognizable.
- the employees are physically and technically suitable.
- a separate safety briefing has taken place.
Fall protection during roof work with digital checklists
Roof safety checklists are excellent for assessing the hazards of roof work, installing fall protection systems, and maintaining them regularly. They can be used to step by step clarify all questions and reliably assess hazards. Checklists minimize the risk of inspection points being forgotten.
Conduct standardized inspections and uncover more issues. With Lumiform’s roof inspection software, you solve issues up to 4 times quicker by assigning corrective actions to your teammates and solving problems together. Gain real-time visibility of all issues and inspections, to prevent incidents in advance and achieve higher safety and quality standards.
In addition, a clean, transparent documentation helps to avoid high fines for non-compliance with legal regulations. Check out Lumiform and benefit from the following
- The flexible form construction kit helps to convert individual paper lists into digital checklists within minutes.
- Lumiform offers numerous pre-made templates to help anyone get started digitally quickly and securely.
- The super intuitive mobile app makes it child’s play to conduct every exam on site, saving time.
- All audit results are automatically bundled into one report and can be sent to stakeholders.
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