Roof Work Safety In Royal Mail Group Buildings – Maintenance & Repairs by RMPFS & Contractors
Working on roofs is a high-risk activity because it involves working at height. Roof workers make up a quarter of all workers killed in falls from height at work. Falls from or through fragile roofs account for more of these deaths than any other single cause. Not all those who are killed while working on roofs are trained roof workers. There are also many serious injuries, often resulting in permanent disabilities. Sadly there have been several roof fall fatalities and serious injuries in Royal Mail Group properties over the years and RMG/CWU jointly don’t want to see any more.
CWU Area Safety Reps should be involved and consulted at pre-start meetings prior to any works commencing in their postcode constituency areas and are right to insist that those managing and undertaking the roof work need to produce a Site Specific Risk Assessment and Work Method Statement for the work to be undertaken.
Royal Mail Property & Facilities Solutions (PFS) has recently tightened up its access arrangements for roof work. Using a roof as a platform to work from is inherently dangerous, and should be avoided wherever possible. There continues to be a significant risk from people falling from the leading edge of roofs or through fragile roof material e.g. skylights. Such incidents usually result in fatal or life changing injuries. In recognition of this fact Royal Mail Property & Facilities Solutions (RMPFS) has tightened up its access arrangements in relation to this matter and in RMG buildings. No contractor or consultant is allowed to set foot on a roof without prior RMPFS authorisation.
Those controlling and managing roof work must plan for safety and determine who will supervise the job ‘on site’ and check that the system is effectively controlling risks, how they will ensure workers are trained and competent and that they work to the ‘method statement’, taking account of fragility, safe access to the roof, that there’s a safe system and safe place of work on the roof and that falls can be prevented. Weather conditions need to be taken into account. They need to take account of electricity, ensure there’s an escape route in case of fire, that there is Fall Arrest Systems Equipment, Scaffolds are erected safely, there is safe use of any mobile access equipment and ladders, only trained and competent staff must be used and that CDM requirements are met.
RMG Roof Work Communications Issued This Week:
Roof Access Arrangements
Royal Mail Property & Facilities Solutions (PFS) has recently tightened up its access arrangements for roof work. Using a roof as a platform to work from is inherently dangerous, and should be avoided wherever possible. Significant risks exist in relation to falling from the leading edge of roofs or through fragile roof material such as skylights – these incidents usually result in fatal or life changing injuries. PFS has therefore communicated updated roof access rules to all PFS employees, the contracts team and RMG suppliers. It is important that PIC’s are aware of the risks surrounding roof work and in particular that roof work is now only permitted in daylight hours in RMG owned sites:
PICs in RMG Owned Buildings
All contractors or consultants must have prior PFS authorisation before being allowed to set foot on a roof. No contractors or consultants are allowed to set foot on a roof between sunset and sunrise (times available from www.timeanddate.com). PIC’s must not allow any roof work to be carried outside of daylight hours. All workers accessing roofs, (including those undertaking surveys and short duration work) must be trained specifically in work at height and accessing roofs. Contractors must have a ‘Risk Assessment and ‘Work Method Statements’ that are specific to the site. (Generic Risk Assessments are not adequate or acceptable). These will have already been checked and authorised by persons appointed by RMPFS but the PIC must ask the contractor to explain their work method statement. The PIC must also discuss any risks to people on site and how this will be managed during the work. Similarly PIC’s must also advise the contractors of any RMG activity that may impact upon them and their safety whilst on site.
PICs in leased Buildings
Where RMG is a tenant in a building and therefore not the landlord, some different arrangements apply. If RMP&FS have commissioned the work, they will have obtained the landlord’s consent to carry out the work and the above rules then apply. Where the landlord has commissioned the work, the landlord is responsible for authorising how the work will be carried out and establishing rules for roof access. In this instance, RMPFS must liaise with the PIC to ensure that adequate arrangements are in place to protect RMG staff and the public for the duration of the works.
Remember that the PIC is authorised and permitted to stop a contractor working if they are working unsafely – in this instance it must be reported to the PFS Helpdesk.
Advice is also available from the local RMG SHE Advisor.
CWU ASRs will be fully involved and consulted pre-start and during any roof work.
- RMG SHE Standard 10.1 – Selection and Working with Contractors Guide
- RMG Contractors Health & Safety Guide/Pocket Card
- RMPFS Roof Work Communication Jan 2019
- HSE Health & Safety in Roof Work HSG33
National Health, Safety & Environment Officer