According to the HSE, falls from height are the third highest cause of fatal and major injuries in the food and drinks sector, comprising 20% of fatal accidents and a significant proportion of serious injury. In many instances, when a fall occurs it’s because a safe method of work has not been provided, particularly during maintenance and cleaning work.
Before any form of work at height is undertaken, a through risk assessment must be undertaken to first of all determine if the work at height can be avoided, and if not, what measures are needed to ensure the work can be carried out safely. Typical measures will include the use of appropriate equipment and training and supervision of those carrying out the work.
Fragile roofs are particular concern for food and drink manufacturing sites, especially in breweries and distilleries, as many of these are based in older buildings where fragile surfaces and skylights are common features.
Surfaces which present a particular risk include:
- old liner panels on built-up sheeted roofs
- non-reinforced fibre cement sheets
- corroded metal sheets
- glass (including wired glass
- rotted chipboard
- slates and tiles
Easi-Dec has worked closely with a number of manufacturing companies, including breweries and food manufacturers to provide safe solutions for work at height on their fragile roofs. Our Board-Walk with both single and double handrails is a common solution for accessing valley gutters and for work over fragile roof coverings, while Easi-Cover is a quick and effective solution for protecting fragile skylights. Our Valley-Walk mobile safety cage is also used extensively for light maintenance of valley gutters such as inspection, cleaning or resealing.
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