Safety when working in loft and roof spaces
Posted on 21st Nov, 2016 | By Lorretta Tatham
Health and safety should be a priority for all tradesmen – but some trades need to put more effort in their health and safety training plan than others. If loft work or work in roof spaces is common in your trade, here are a few safety issues you need to consider…
What are the risks of working in lofts?
If entry to a confined space can’t be avoided, it’s important to carry out a risk assessment to identify any risks to health. Look out for any safety hazards, loose materials or hazardous materials and put the proper safety procedures in place to minimise accident and injury. It’s also important to ensure that all staff involved in working in loft or roof space are well aware of the risk and results of the assessment. This will ensure they comply with the safe system of work identified.
Plan safe work at height
When working from any elevated space, there’s a risk of falls and injury. A fall from a loft and roof space could result in life-threatening injuries, so extra care must be taken. To ensure safe work at a height, make sure to use suitable access solutions, such as extension ladders and roof ladders. You’ll also want to make sure you’ve received the proper training. We recommend our Work at Heights Training Course.
Use the right access equipment
Choosing the right ladder is just the start when it comes to access equipment for work in lofts and roof spaces. We also recommend the use of a safety rail when you’re working on projects in the loft. Within loft space, you may require additional equipment to carry out work. When picking this equipment, make sure you choose something safe and sturdy – such as one of our work platforms.
Make sure your working space is safe
Sometimes it’s those little things like cables and poor lighting that lead to slips, trips and falls. To maximise safety in confined spaces, we recommend a bit of housekeeping – to ensure your working area is as safe as it can be. Make sure it’s well lit and that all trip hazards are removed. This will only take you a few minutes but can save your life.
Take precautions against hazardous materials
As with any construction or building work, you’re likely to be dealing with hazardous materials. Fibreglass insulation is just one – and can cause both skin irritation and eye problems. Furthermore, fibreglass particles can cause havoc with your respiratory system – even causing cancer and lung problems. To minimise the risk of exposure, make sure you wear the correct PPE. Goggles, safety gloves and a respiratory mask are a must. If you’re going to be exposed to asbestos, make sure you’re fully aware of the risk and protective measures. If you’re not, we recommend our Asbestos Awareness Training.
To ensure optimum health and safety at work, make sure at least one staff member is First Aid Training. You can book employees on our 3-Day First Aid at Work Course, which delivers HSE-approved training.
Do you have any other safety tips for safe loft work? If so, drop us a tweet @Brownssafety