Safe roofwork

Working on roofs can be dangerous, and high safety standards are essential
however long- or short-term the work. The European Agency for Safety and Health
at Worktherefore has published a factsheet on this topic providing basic advice
on safe

Precautions for roof work Is the work necessary?

The best way to prevent a fall from or through a roof is not to go on it in the
first place. If the work needs to be done, can it be done without going on the
roof or can the amount of time on the roof be reduced? For example, it may be
possible to partially assemble roof sections at ground level to minimise the
time spent working at heights.

Before starting work

A risk assessment should be carried out for all roof work before work starts..
The necessary equipment, appropriate precautions and systems of work should be
provided and implemented, and workers should have had clear instruction and
training. All roofwork, including shortduration work (lasting minutes rather
than hours), needs careful planning to minimise the risks to workers.

Fall prevention

Suitable preventive measures should be taken where there is a risk of falling
during work on the roof and while getting on and off it. Collective measures to
protect against the risks of falls should be taken, based on the findings of
the risk assessment, before personal protective measures. Any safeguard
provided to prevent falls (such as edge protection) should be strong enough to
prevent or arrest falls and stop injuries to workers.

Fall prevention measures should be in place before work at height starts and
remain in place until the work is finished. Weather conditions should be taken
into account during roofwork, as icy, wet or windy conditions can significantly
increase the risk of people or material falling.

Falling material

Falling material can kill. Nothing should be thrown from a roof. Take the
following steps:

  • use enclosed rubbish chutes, or lower material to the ground;
  • do not let material that could fall accumulate;
  • prevent access to danger areas underneath or adjacent to roofwork;
  • use debris netting, covered walkways or similar safeguards to stop falling
    material causing injury;
  • where possible, avoid carrying large and heavy objects onto roofs;
  • ensure that all material is stored correctly, particularly in windy


Roof workers need the appropriate knowledge, skills and experience to work
safely. Workers need training to be able to recognise the risks, understand the
appropriate systems of work and be competent in the skills to carry them out,
such as putting up edge protection, operating a mobile access platform, or
installing and wearing harness systems.

Further Information

AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work