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RCI January 2018

THE ENVELOPE Pledging to keep the risk From drying a substrate and cutting, out of roof fires By Gary Walpole, technical and health and safety officer grinding and welding, to applying torchon roofing membranes, heating bitumen and hot melt boilers, hot works are part and parcel of the roofer’s workload. In fact, gas torches are used on more than 60% of all flat roof works in the UK and these applications, under the wrong conditions, could cause a fire. Taking action At the NFRC, we have long worked with our members to embrace best practice in the industry and this is why, back in July, we released comprehensive guidance for the use of propane gas torches when applying roofing membranes and drying roof surfaces. This guidance – Safe2Torch – has already had a positive impact on the roofing industry with most of the UK’s leading manufacturers of RBM materials pledging to follow it. In the last five months, the Safe2Torch guidance has been downloaded more than 1,000 times; the Safe2Torch checklist has been downloaded over 3,000 times; and 240 members and non-members have pledged to comply, meaning they are committed to promoting and implementing the campaign throughout their organisation. This 020 RCIMAG.COM JANUARY 2018 makes it the most downloaded NFRC guidance document to date. On top of that, 63 people attended a CPD workshop in October on building quality, safety and fire prevention run at UK Construction Week which was CPD Certification Service approved. Why it matters Roof fires caused by hot works pose a serious threat to life, property and the image of the roofing industry – as well as the long-term future of torch-on as an accepted method of covering a roof. The Safe2Torch campaign therefore seeks to promote the positive side of the industry, where safe specifications and safe working practices are second nature. Our aim when drawing up the document was to put safety first at the design stage. So, under the campaign, fire risks must be identified at the survey and factored in to the specification before it is written. Where any fire risk has been identified or where it cannot be ruled out, roofers must default to torchfree solutions. Get involved From 2018, all existing NFRC contractor members who use a gas torch in their work, and any NFRC manufacturers who write torch-on specifications and can supply flame-free solutions, will be required to register with Safe2Torch as part of their membership criteria. By signing up to the pledge, roofers promise to highlight and report specifications which do not conform to identify and reduce the risk of roof fires caused by gas torches. Additionally, they promise to ensure all employees are trained in the use of gas torches and their associated risks, and that all supervisors or charge hands have completed the Safe2Torch checklist prior to hot works commencing. Safe2Torch has changed how we use gas torches when drying and installing membrane roofs and demonstrates how by working together, we can take ownership of managing the risks when using gas torches. Good risk management should be shared to a wider audience which is why the NFRC has committed the Safe2Torch campaign to Help Great Britain Work Well, and are pleased to announce that on the 12th December it was accepted on to the strategy. This will provide regular updates on the Safe2Torch journey, showing what we are doing and how it is making a difference to workplace safety. To view the Safe2Torch commitment to the Help Great Britain Work Well strategy, please visit: https://webcommunities.hse.gov.uk/connect.ti/c ommitments For more information on the campaign, please visit: https://www.nfrc.co.uk/safe2torch at the NFRC Gary Walpole: “From 2018, all existing NFRC contractor members who use a gas torch in their work, and any NFRC manufacturers who write torch-on specifications and can supply flame-free solutions, will be required to register with Safe2Torch as part of their membership criteria” “In the last five months, the Safe2Torch guidance has been downloaded more than 1,000 times; the Safe2Torch checklist has been downloaded over 3,000 times; and 240 members and non-members have pledged to comply”


RCI January 2018
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