ISSUE: Unsafe Roof Work
UNSAFE SYSTEM OF WORK:
• Gutter cleaning on a four storey building
• One man was seen holding the rope for another man to access the gutters on the building, also known as the “Glasgow Top Man System”.
HSE ENFORCEMENT RESPONSE: Improvement Notice and Notice of Contravention Served
SAFETY SMART COMMENT:
Work at height is well known to be the largest single cause of fatal and serious injury in the construction sector.
All duty holders responsible for work at height MUST make sure that work is properly planned (including the right equipment for the job), supervised and carried out by competent people.
SAFETY SMART PRACTICAL ADVICE:
Are Workers Competent?
• Duty holders often say post accident that self employed contractors are responsible for their own training. Whilst this might be the case, it is still the dutyholders responsibility to ensure that all individuals working at height are competent before they work on the site and also that they have been properly briefed on the work that they are expected to do and how they should safely carry out the work (i.e. that the risk assessment, method statement and safe system of work have been explained to them.)
• The best way of practically achieving a proper briefing is by making it mandatory that all workers on site sign to say that they have read all the relevant documentation. The documentation should be listed to avoid any confusion of what exact document and version of the document the worker has read and if there are any queries or concerns, then they should be raised with a designated individual whose name is specified on the document that they sign along with a contact number and emergency contact number and alternative number.
What level of Supervision is required?
• For an apprentice, it may be that they require constant supervision when working at height or that it isn’t appropriate for certain young persons to work at height. Remember! All under 18’s are required to be specifically risk assessed, as their understanding of risk may not be akin to an adults.
• Site supervision and responsibility must be established between the parties from the outset, even for very minor works and any agreement that is reached regarding supervision should be put in writing, for example by email confirmation, to confirm your understanding of what has been agreed. This will avoid an dispute in the future if an accident takes place and issues are raised about workers understanding of who was responsible for supervision and the level of supervision that was supposed to be provided.