No other part of a building absorbs more punishment than the roof. Whether it’s the snow that accumulates in the winter or the rain and hail that pounds away on it during the spring and summer, a roof gets no relief from the elements. This makes it more susceptible to failure.
The best way to avoid issues is to have the roof inspected on a regular basis and perform preventative maintenance when necessary. The only way to do a thorough inspection is by having a trained employee or hired professional check for wet spots, signs of damage or aging material that could possibly fail.
Anytime someone climbs onto a commercial roof there is the potential for injury or even death. Professionals and employees who following proper safety measures and employ the right safety equipment can not only help prevent falls, it can make inspections and repairs less time consuming and more affordable in the long run.
Here are three roof safety maintenance tips to remember.
There is a great deal of commercially available safety equipment designed to prevent or mitigate falls. Not all of it may be necessary for your particular situation, but some of these devices are well suited to protecting staff during routine roof inspections and maintenance. There are two types of basic fall protection systems to consider an active system that requires a tie-off anchor, anchor on the roof or a passive system such as a guardrail.
Guardrails can help a fall from occurring unlike an active system which may stop a fall in progress but has a greater potential for injury. Two of the most common types of guardrails are non-penetrating guardrails and fixed based guardrails. Non-penetrating guardrails aren’t secured which eliminates the need to make holes in the roof and engineering. They are easily installed and fit the contour of any roof. Fixed based guardrails are attached to the roof by brackets. These guardrails typically don’t require any on-site fabrication and can be fixed to the side or surface of the roof. Both types of guardrails are available in a variety materials such as steel and aluminum.
It is important that everyone in your organization knows whom is and isn’t allowed access to the roof. It is better if only a limited number of people share this responsibility. Keep track of the keys that are issued to these individuals and stress that they are never to be given to anyone with authorization to be on the roof.
Safety procedures should be clearly established and adhered to with no exceptions. Even outside contractors and vendors should be bound by the same procedures that your staff is required to follow.
Training should be conducted on a regular basis to ensure procedures are up to date and fresh in the minds of employees who will be conducting inspections and performing maintenance. They should understand how all of the safety equipment functions. The layout of the roof should familiar to them to ensure they don’t encounter any unexpected hazards in the course of roof inspections and maintenance. A one-time training will not sufficient to prepare your people for all of the situations they may encounter.