Health And Safety

The recommendations in the HSE guidance note HSG 33: ‘Health and Safety in Roofwork’, HSG 150 Health and Safety in Construction and the National Federation of Roofing Contractors’ safe wind speed recommendations should be followed.

This section provides guidance on safety method statements, a list of legislation that may apply, risk analysis and guidance on roof access. However, please refer to the HSE website for the most up to date information:

Safety method statement

A safety method statement should be prepared that includes :

    • all working positions and access routes to and on the roof;
    • how falls are to be prevented;
    • how the danger from falling materials to those at work and to the public is to be controlled;
    • how risks to health will be controlled;
    • how other risks identified at the planning stages are to be controlled;
    • what equipment will be required;
    • what competence and training will be needed;
    • who will supervise the job ‘on-site’
    • how changes will be made to the work without prejudicing safe working;
    • who will monitor that the safe system of work is operating properly.


With particular reference to roofs, the following laws could apply. However, please refer to the HSE website for the most up to date information:

Heath & Safety At Work Act (HSW) 1974

Applies to all work employers, employees, self-employed.

Management Heath & Safety at Work (MHSWR) 1999

Applies to all work employers, employees, self-employed. Assess and reduce risks.

Construction (Health, Safety & Welfare) 1996

Applies to all construction work employers, employees, self-employed and all those who can contribute to the health and safety of a construction project.

Construction Regulations 1989

Applies to all requiring head protection.

Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2015

They set out what people involved in construction work need to do to protect themselves from harm and anyone the work affects.

Lifting Operations and Equipment (LOLER) 1998

Applies to all lifting equipment. Manual Handling Operations 1992 Applies to employers and the moving of objects by hand or bodily force.

Provision and Use of Work Equipment (PUWER) 1998

Applies to all equipment providers including machinery which should be safe for work.

The Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) 1992

Applies to employers regarding ventilation, heating, lighting, workstations, seating and welfare facilities.

Health and Safety (First Aid) Regulations 1981

Provision of suitable first aid facilities and at least one trained first aider.

Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) 2013

Require employers to notify certain occupational injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrances.

Noise at Work Regulations 1989

Require employers to take action to protect employees from hearing damage.

Electricity at Work Regulations 1989

Require people in control of electrical systems to ensure they are safe to use and maintained in a safe condition.

Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) 2002

Require employers to assess the risks from hazardous substances and take appropriate precautions.

Personal Protective Equipment at Work 1992

Applies to employers for the provision, use and storage of appropriate protective clothing and equipment.

Risk analysis

Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 require employers to carry out risk assessments, make arrangements to implement necessary measures, appoint competent people and arrange for appropriate information and training.

This requires:

    • Looking for hazards
    • Who and how they can be harmed
    • Evaluate and action to eliminate or reduce risk
    • Record or communicate findings
    • Review findings

When looking for hazards consideration should be given to:

    • Trees
    • Overhead phone and electric cable.
    • Large eaves overhang reducing stability of access equipment.
    • Vulnerable building features such as plastic gutters and castellated ridge tiles.
    • Aerial, satellite dish and phone cables laid across roof.
    • Uneven roof rafters.
    • Doorways or others pedestrian routes below the work area.
    • Weak roof structures below work area such as conservatories.
    • Uneven or soft ground below work area.
    • Length of roof pitch to suit available roof ladders.
    • Clearance of hidden roof structure such as flashing or aprons from chimneys or valleys.
    • Features of the building enabling tie-in of access equipment such as opening windows.
    • Routes of electric extension cables avoiding risk of tripping
    • Overlooking of private areas/screening

Personal access and working at heights

A temporary platform at or near eaves level is an essential safety item when working above 2 metres height.

Working platform features:

    • Min. width to cover working area whilst on roof
    • Sufficient strength to support loads including personnel, tools and materials
    • Sufficient integrity to stop tools and debris falling below
    • Main guardrail min. 910mm. above fall edge
    • Toe-board min. 150mm. high.
    • No unprotected gap between these exceeding 470mm (i.e. Use mesh of intermediate rail