36 RCI 0514

RCI May 2014

CLADDING & SHEETING Non fragility roof guidance means no compromise on safety 036 MAY 2014 RCIMAG.COM By Carlton Jones of the MCRMA There has been much discussion recently about safe work at heights and it is essential that all involved in the roofing industry understand the specific requirements for roof access and maintenance. The latest guidance from the Metal Cladding and Roofing Manufacturers Association (MCRMA) ‘Non fragility of roof: a checklist’, contains detailed advice for anyone who has to access a roof whilst ensuring that there is no compromise on safety. As in all building work, good safety standards are essential to prevent accidents. In accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Construction (Design and Management) or CDM Regulations, buildings must be designed with safety in mind, not only for the construction period itself, but also throughout the normal life of the building. This will include considering the safety of people involved in maintenance, installation of PVs, forming of penetrations, inspections, repair and even demolition. For example, it might mean as part of the design process providing permanent access to the roof via a fixed ladder and hatch, or walkways and parapets. This requirement links to the 2005 Work at Height Regulations (WAHR) which applies to all work at height where there is any risk of a fall liable to cause injury. It places duties on employers, the self-employed and any person who controls the work of others, such as facilities managers or building owners. Work on a roof during the construction and installation phase and the subsequent operational phase must be undertaken with extreme caution by experienced and competent people. Contractors and those planning to work on the roof must meticulously plan and document a safe system of work, including a specific risk assessment and method statement before starting construction, installation, inspections or maintenance. MCRMA and its members work closely with the Advisory Committee for Roofsafety (ACR) to ensure that all those involved in roof work construction have access to the most up to date advice on safe working practices and also the legal requirements. Modern metal-based industrial and commercial roofing systems incorporating rooflights and components which have been tested and assessed for non-fragility and installed in accordance with manufacturer’s installation instructions can provide a sound platform for work. However, the use of safety netting, edge protection and safety line systems with attached safety harnesses should always form part of the safe system of work. In addition to guidance provided by MCRMA members, it is incumbent on all those who need to work at heights to accept a degree of responsibility for their own safety. The contracting company, individual workers and the building owner or occupier all have a part to play to ensure that the work is conducted in a safe manner. The following checklist must be considered before accessing any roof: • The roof should be declared FRAGILE unless there is documentation to confirm its current nonfragility. • Could the building’s external or internal environment have an adverse influence on the durability of the materials, systems or assemblies used in the construction? • Before accessing the roof, the condition of the roof should be assessed from the inside of the building for the following: – Are any of the fasteners missing or not attached to the purlins? If yes, the roof is FRAGILE. – Count the number of fasteners per sheet or the panel width per bearing end. If there are less than three, the roof is FRAGILE. – If corrosion is visible on the liner or inside face of the panel – the roof is FRAGILE. – If the joints in the liner or sandwich panels are “It is incumbent on all those who need to work at heights to accept a degree of responsibility for their own safety. The contracting company, individual workers and the building owner or occupier all have a part to Roofsafe rail installation on a play to ensure that the work is conducted in a safe manner” trapezoidal roof. Image courtesy of Capital Safety


RCI May 2014
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