Roof edge protection


An employee suffered permanent spinal injuries when he fell almost three metres from the roof of a poultry unit while cleaning extraction fans. He had gained access to the roof by climbing up at the low end then walking along the edge of the roof to the fan housings at the top of the roof. At one point he had to duck beneath a live power line which ran over the building. There was no roof edge protection to prevent falling, no risk assessment had been carried out and no safe system of work had been devised which would have prevented this accident.


The company were prosecuted under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989, the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1992 and the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992. They were found guilty of failing to carry out a risk assessment, failing to take suitable measures to prevent a fall, and for allowing work close to live uninsulated power cables. They were fined a total of £19,500 plus costs of £3,095.


Appropriate precautions must be taken to prevent people falling from the edges of roofs. Where there is a risk of falling more than two metres, normally roof edge protection consisting of suitable guard rails and toe boards will be required. Exceptionally, reliance may be placed on fall arrest equipment, for example safety harnesses.

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