News

Safety Alert: Falls through skylights and plastic roof sheeting

April 5 2018

Safework NSW has released a Safety Alert about Falls through skylights and plastic roof sheeting.

This safety alert reminds persons of the risks associated with working on roofs with skylights or plastic roof sheeting, as well as the actions required to ensure those risks are eliminated or minimised.

BACKGROUND

In March 2018, one worker died and two others received serious injuries, including fractures and spinal injuries, after falling through a skylight or plastic roof sheeting.

These incidents demonstrate that it is not just exposed edges that create the risk of a fall when working on roofs.

KEY CONSIDERATIONS

Not all areas on a roof are safe to walk on or step or fall onto if you stumble or lose balance.

Even plastic sheeting that is claimed to be trafficable can become brittle over time and is highly reliant on correct installation to be trafficable.

When on existing roofs, dirt and algal growth can make it harder to notice plastic sheeting, especially if it has the same profile as the surrounding sheeting.

Roof sheeting profiles, surface changes, dirt, moisture and obstructions on roofs make it more likely that a person will stumble and deviate from their intended travel path.

ACTION REQUIRED

Before commencing work on an existing roof, carry out an inspection to determine:

  • the presence and condition of sky lights, plastic roof sheeting and other brittle roof sheeting such as asbestos cement sheeting
  • the presence and integrity of safety mesh.

Read the full article here: Falls through skylights and plastic roof sheeting

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