Dangers involved in Roofwork

The Health and Safety Authority is issuing an urgent warning to employers and employees of the dangers associated with working on or near fragile materials when carrying out work on roofs.  This warning follows five fatal accidents in the recent months due to falls from height, and in a particular incidents involving falling through asbestos sheeting and falling through roof lights.

The incidents have occurred in farming, manufacturing and construction sector and have generally occurred whilst carrying out repair or maintenance work to roofs. 

The Safety, Health and Welfare at work (General application) Regulations 2007 place specific duties on employers in regard to working at height. Employers must ensure that:

  • all work at height is properly planned and organised
  • a risk assessment is carried out for all work conducted at height
  • appropriate work equipment is selected and used
  • people working at a height are competent
  • equipment used for work at height is properly inspected and maintained
  • risks from fragile surfaces are properly controlled

Note: Assume roof to be fragile unless confirmed otherwise by a competent person

The Health and Safety Authority have a number of guidance documents to assist employers and employees in carrying out roofwork safely and in particular working on or near fragile roof materials such as the one below.

Code of Practice for Safety in Roofwork