Health and Safety in Roofing Work


Health and safety is undoubtedly the most important aspect of any construction or renovation project, whether casual or contracted. Results mean very little if injuries occur as part of work undertaken; no value can offset the value of a life. This is reflected in the stringent laws that govern businesses and contractors in relation to building, renovation or indeed any form of professional endeavour.

Roofing work is amongst the most dangerous of disciplines, owing to the heightened risk associated with working at height and the specific hazards that roofing workers face. But how exactly do these risks and hazards present in roofing, and what safety measures do contractors and clients need to take in order to ensure safety of all workers and visitors?

The Risk of Working at Height

To understand the sheer risk inherited by those that undertake roofing work of any kind, you needn’t look further than the statistics associated with roofing. According to statistics taken from the Health and Safety Executive, falls from height are the single most common cause of fatal injury in the workplace – accounting for nearly a quarter of all deaths.

Thurston County homeowners always want to find roofing contractors in Olympia with workers who pay special attention to Health and Safety. This proactive behavior can prevent injuries and reduce costs in the long run, making it a win-win for everyone involved.

Direct Hazards

Falling is naturally the biggest risk facing roofers, but with proper protections the incidence of falling can be mitigated. It is other direct hazards that increase the likelihood of a fall, such as the slope of roofs and inclement conditions leading to slippery surfaces. Roofers may lose their balance using a nail gun, or injure themselves with the nail gun.

It is not just roofers that face these risks and hazards, though; there are a wide range of contractors and professionals that work at height and inherit the same dangers. For example, joiners might be installing roof insulation at a domestic property during an extension build, running the risk of falling from height – whether through the ceiling, or through an unfinished roof structure. Electricians likewise face this risk, with the added dangers posed by exposed wires as trip hazards.

Safety Measures

So, given the sheer risk of working at height, what safety measures are put in place to ensure safety? For one, skill and experience are both extremely valuable, and comprehensive training is essential to get relevant contractors to a level of understanding regarding their craft.

The scope of a project or undertaking will be laid out and extensively examined in advance of the work getting underway – usually through the use of a method statement to define each step of the process. This method statement will account for specific health and safety tasks, such as the carrying-out of a risk assessment to define specific hazards and routes to mitigation.

Equipment is another key aspect to safety. Personal protective equipment (PPE) can refer to items of clothing such as hard hats and steel toe-capped boots, but also to protective measures such as tool lanyards and harnesses – the latter of which can be attached to anchor points in order to prevent falling.