Often the issue of an unsafe roof is ignored or overlooked until disaster strikes. Here are a couple points to keep in mind to minimize the risk to workers as they approach the "Danger Zones" of a rooftop.
When accessing your roof (by doorway or ladder etc.), there are three important components to keep in mind. The roof must be:
- Simple to navigate
Ask yourself some questions when inspecting the roof.
- How are people accessing the roof? Is through a roof skylight/ hatch, ladder, or walk out door?
- Is the area properly lit?
- Is there metal work in place? (E.g. railing or ladder rungs, landing platform)
- Is it being properly maintained and free of obtrusion and jagged edges?
The best thing you can do when looking at these areas is use common sense. If it looks dangerous or questionable, do something or say something. Don’t push it off. Address the issue immediately before someone is injured or worse.
Assuming the Access point is safe, secure and simple we now turn our attention to what is right around us. Did coming through that entry point just put us in immediate danger? Here are a few examples of an unsafe entry point or unprotected edge.
- Your roof hatch is less than 2m away from the leading edge with the hatch opening up to the leading edge
- The parapet is less than 1.1m (if there is even a parapet)
- There is no railing on either side of a ladder access to a roof
- The ladder does not have a self-closing gate at the opening
If any of these situations match the scenario on your roof, common sense should dictate that you immediately address these concerns to ensure the safety of workers at risk.
Do your part to separate people from hazards and maintain a safe work area.
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