In most parts of the world the weather will be improving and beside maintenance tasks that were put off, the spring season is ideal for checking for any weather-damage on rooftops and for cleaning out drains.
Ice, snow and harsh winds can damage a roof and the installations on top of it, but a proper inspection will alert you of any issues before they cause serious damage. Having an annual roof inspection will signal weather-related damage early and thus helps prevent leaks, unsafe situations and structural problems.
Weather influences on fall protection systems
As manufacturer of fall protection systems we strongly support the regulations that require an annual inspection of fall protection systems on a roof, to ensure its safety. Although fall protection systems are designed for outdoor use, weather influences can affect the lifespan of a system. You can read all about the effects of weather conditions on fall protection systems in an earlier blog.
Slips and trips may result in falls
When inspecting the roof and/or the systems on a roof, however, you should not forget your own safety. Always ensure that you use the proper personal fall protection equipment or PPE to keep yourself safe. As a lot of accidents on rooftops can be traced back to slips and trips, which can result into falls, we have compiled some tips for you to prevent these kinds of accidents.
Slips are a loss of balance and usually occur when there is a loss of grip between the soles of a shoe and the working surface. Trips happen when you hit an object causing you to lose balance. Both slips and trips can cause injury in themselves, but both can also cause a worker to fall from height as well.
How to prevent slips, trips and falls?
1. Proper footwear
At many work sites workers are required to wear safety shoes, and for work at height shoes with steel toes are often compulsory. Footwear contributes a great part in preventing falls, so wear the right shoes at all times. Shoes should be comfortable and provide enough grip on the work surface. Keep shoes free from mud and grease. Also make sure that shoelaces are always tied. However, no matter what soles your shoes have there may still be occasions where you may slip. Therefore we always recommend caution while working at height.
2. Clean surfaces
Contaminants, such as water, dead leaves, oil, dust or plastic can all make the surface slippery causing shoes to have less grip. Preventing floor contaminants means preventing slips. Prompt attention to spills and clean-up is therefore also crucial. Also, mind your step at all times…
3. Ensure flat and secured surface
Trips often occur because of uneven or loose flooring. Ensure that roofing material lays flat and that any additional mats are anchored so they cannot slide when stepping on them. If the roofing material has come loose or if you don’t trust a situation, bring in an expert. Don’t put yourself into an unsafe situation.
4. Remove obstacles
Keep work areas and walkways free of obstacles, clutter and equipment, so that you, or your co-workers, cannot trip over them. Also avoid stringing cords or cables across walkways on the rooftop surface.
5. Proper lighting
Poor lighting is associated with an increase in workplace accidents. Although rooftops are generally out in the open and work is executed in daylight, work areas such as ladders, stairs and walkways may be dimly lit. Ensure proper lighting everywhere to prevent incidents.
6. Never block your vision
Never carry so much equipment that you block your vision, or look at your cell phone while walking on a surface at height. Always look at where you are going, so you can spot possible fall or trip hazards in time.