Just because a job isn’t expected to take long, it doesn’t mean edge protection should be overlooked – a fall can happen in an instant, and can change a life forever.
In one recent HSE case, an employee of a maintenance company was working on a roof in Tooting without any edge protection.
During the incident in February 2014, he slipped and fell on to a patio area, landing on a table and injuring his face, while also sustaining a broken jaw, a shattered elbow and tissue damage in his knee.
HSE inspector Gavin Pugh said: “All work on roofs should be sufficiently risk assessed before any work is carried out.
“Edge protection or other equally effective safety measures should be in place for anything other than very short-term work.”
However, a fall can happen at any time – even within seconds of reaching the roof – and that makes edge protection or similar safety measures a must no matter how short-term the task might be.
An alternative for very short-term work (or as a precaution during long-term work too) is to use man anchors to tether employees to the roof itself, preventing them from reaching beyond the roof edge.