The why and how of a roof access policy

Roof access

As a building owner or manager it is your responsibility to facilitate a safe work environment. Fall protection for people working on your roof or at other heights is an important part of that concern. You can decide to hire third parties to take the appropriate measures or choose to provide permanent fall protection measures yourself. In either case, it is wise to ensure that the local rules and regulations are being followed, and the best way to ensure this is to implement a solid roof access policy.

Building Owner Liability
In any situation where the roof of a building has no edge protection a building owner needs to ensure the safety of the people who have to access the roof. Providing proper instruction as well as having an adequate rescue plan in place are required and help limit the building owner’s liability.

Another way to fulfill your duty as a building owner, is to ensure that every company you are hiring is aware of the fall hazards that the job entails and to make sure they understand their duties with regards to these hazards. In this case, you should actively see to it that the workers are indeed provided with everything they need to protect themselves against falls.

Bring in the expert!
Usually, a fall protection expert is brought onboard to make a risk assessment and to create a fall protection plan that deals with the potential hazards effectively. After the risk assessment a fall protection solution can be purchased. The fall protection supplier will instruct you (the client) on how to use the equipment properly.

Job done?

In reality, this is often where the story ends. Proper management of a personal fall protection solution is a topic that is not frequently discussed. This should change, because a building owner or site manager is commonly the last person a fall protection user sees before accessing the roof. For that reason, these people are in the best position to look out for possible neglect or flaws in the use of fall protection.

Roof access policy
More and more facility, or property management companies, are implementing roof access policies. They want to know who are on their roofs and they want to be sure that these people know what it takes to safely work at height.

This is a responsible, pro-active approach that XSPlatforms encourages. But how does one verify whether a worker is adequately prepared? Of course, we understand that not every property owner or manager is an expert in the field of fall protection.

We would like to present a useful checklist that building owners can use to instruct workers before they access the roof or other work locations at height. The purpose of this checklist is to make workers more aware of the steps they should undertake in order to be properly prepared before starting his/her work at height.

It should be noted that this checklist does not exempt building owners or managers from their liability in case of an accident; it is not a legal document.

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