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August 24, 2012

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HSE issues roof guidance revision

Updated guidance from the HSE on health and safety in roof work has been published.

According to the Executive, roofers comprise nearly a quarter of all workers killed in falls from height at work. Falls through fragile materials account for more of these deaths than any other single cause.

The aim of the publication is to help all those who undertake roof-work activities – including activities often not seen as roof work, such as maintenance and surveying – identify the main causes of accidents and ill health, and implement appropriate control measures to manage the risks involved.

This new edition contains guidance on how to plan and work safely on roofs, with advice on: the work-at-height hierarchy; training and competency; method statements; fragility; safe access to the roof; weather conditions; electricity at work; and escape in the event of fire.

The publication goes on to cover various types of roof work, including new buildings, repair, maintenance, cleaning work and demolition, as well as considering the different types of roof that workers might encounter. Advice is also given on how to protect roof workers’ health from risks such as manual handling, harmful dusts and chemicals, and noise and vibration.

The guidance also contains information for those who do not directly carry out work on roofs, such as clients, designers and specifiers.

The fourth edition of HSG33 ‘Health and safety in roof work’ is available in hard copy, priced at £17.50, or it can be downloaded free of charge via the HSE website at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/books/hsg33.htm

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Alexhoward_121
Alexhoward_121
11 years ago

It’s clear that advice/guidance without legal clout is just a waste of time and money!
You only have to look at the ‘in court’ section of this mag to see that!

The employers that do give a damn about the safety of their personnel will already be doing most of what is in the guidance anyway – the cowboys won’t – ergo – people will still get hurt – or worse!

Perhaps the HSE should have another look at the WAH injury/fatality stats and have a serious think about an ACoP?

Andrew
Andrew
11 years ago

Reading through the court reports, a very common thread is the lack of awareness of the risks, and /or a willingness to ignore them, by the injured parties. Perhaps the guidnace will raise awareness among workers and lead them to become more competent with regard to their own safety; rather than continually relying on management – who often fail – and then the HSE to prosecute and PI solicitors to bring a claim after the event.
Roof looks dodgy? Don’t go up there!

Bob
Bob
11 years ago

How do the HSE propose to engage with those who WAH by the production of yet another guidance document, that will enevitably be ignored by those at risk, as is evident with previous non compliance with the forma WAH guidance?

A guidance document has no leagal clout, an ACoP does.

Surely an ACoP for roofing would be more beneficial given the statistics for injury and fatality?

To much effort possibly? You would have to enforce it then would`nt you?

Bob
Bob
11 years ago

An ACoP provides an absolute minimum standard, Guidance does not.

It is percieved to promote improvement but is more liable to a defence of practicality. Therefore rarely cited and involves a comprehensive understanding of BEST PRACTICE (which may be proven to be less available / practicable than believed).

Therefore liable to decent defence by someone in the know.

My PI never once used Guidance for enforcement, only for promoting means of considered control of risk?

Bob
Bob
11 years ago

A man with no fingers can count on one hand how many times HSG is refered too in evidence or after prosecution.

That` a significnat contributory factor in persuing a section 2 & 3 conviction, sod the guidance, did they owe a duty of care? more often than not they did, was there a minimum standard of control to adopt? yes refer to the ACoP, guilty as charged.

It`s a shame as we spend our lives promoting bast practice because we care, but do not expect the HSE to enforce on guidance.

Bob
Bob
11 years ago

I see they retained figure 17.

Clearly shows an Engineer stood off from an engineered walkway on a possible fragile roof, accessing roof mounted plant, using a fall restraint harness, which is clipped at his ankle height to the engineered walkway.

It is neither CDM or WAH compliant yet is suposed to promote good practice.

Why have a walkway that is too short, or why land plant away from it? Bridge the gap if need be.

And fall restraint at ankle height is not best practice is it?

Ray
Ray
11 years ago

Without wishing to be pedantic, it is my understanding that HSE guidance can still be cited in a court of law ie s40 to show ‘a failure to comply with a duty or requirement to do something so far as is practicable or so far as is reasonably practicable, or to use the best practicable means to do something…’

Furthermore, the CMA s8 (3)(b)allows the Jury to have regard to any health and safety guidance that relates to the alleged breach.