Why it's important to inspect your equipment

Jun 2, 2020

Whilst this period of downtime has brought many challenges to the construction industry, it has also provided roofers with the opportunity to do a bit of housekeeping that they ordinarily might struggle to find the time to do as regularly as they could.  Here, Jamie Brassington, Product Manager at WernerCo, discusses the importance of tool maintenance and how regular checks can help roofers improve their safety on-site, as well as outlining how to correctly inspect working at height equipment.

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) 2017/18 report, falls from height still account for 35% of fatal accidents at work. With roofers accounting for nearly 24% of all work at height fatalities within the construction industry, the need for suitable safety equipment remains paramount in order to avoid serious injury.

One way to minimise the risk of potential accidents and injuries is to check that any equipment being used is not only fit-for-purpose, but it is also safe from any damage that renders it dangerous to use.

Roof ladders

When it comes to checking roof ladders, it’s important to keep in mind that some minor wear and tear will be inevitable, but there are some key areas that should always be inspected for significant damage before use.

Any rungs should be present, and there should not be any bending, bowing or twisting as any significant denting that might compromise the strength of the tread. Additionally, the stiles and frames should be checked to ensure there is no bending, longitudinal twisting or bowing, and that it is generally rigid.

To minimise the risk of slips whilst climbing the ladder, roofers should also make sure the ladder is clean and free from spillages. There should also be no signs of corrosion to components and they should be clean of dirt, paint, oil or grease.

In order to prevent the roof ladder from slipping, any rubber end bars should be inspected along with the non-slip support bars to ensure there is adequate support for the user. 

Fall protection equipment

Whether working on a flat or sloping roof, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is becoming a more essential part of any roofer’s toolkit and should therefore also be considered when carrying out inspections to equipment before use.

WernerCo’s range of Fall Protection kits are specifically designed with safety in mind. The Professional Roofer’s Kit provides the necessary protection for working around roofing installations and is designed to be easy to use on a variety of roof pitches.

Due to their nature, fall protection kits are often subject to harsh operating conditions and will likely encounter some wear and tear. Inspections should be carried out before each use, and inspections at regular intervals will help roofers identify any problems at an early stage.

When inspecting a fall protection system, roofers should refer to EN 365:2004, which sets out guidelines for the inspection of personal protective equipment against falls from height. This includes pre-use checks, detailed inspections and interim inspections as appropriate.

Many fall protection systems now feature additional measures to make any issues that would compromise user safety easy to spot. For example, the stitching patterns found on the Werner Fall Protection harnesses will help indicate post fall condition and aid equipment inspection in the event of a fall. A lanyard that has been used to arrest a fall should never be reused. In this case, it should be withdrawn from service immediately and destroyed.

By taking all of these factors into consideration and checking their tools before starting a job, roofers will be in a better position to safeguard themselves and reduce the risk of injury should a slip or fall happen. If the industry as a whole can take more proactive steps to safety, this will hopefully reduce the number of accidents and fatal injuries reported each year.

To download a copy of the comprehensive ladder inspection guide, visit -https://embed.widencdn.net/pdf/plus/wernerco/fnhuyqwndy/Werner-Youngman-Abru-Ladder-Inspection-Guidance.pdf?u=qlpvmu

Media contact:

Lucy Kendrick

E: [email protected]

T: 0121 454 9707

Katy Peacock

E: [email protected]

T: 0121 454 9707