What are the rules for safe snow removal of roofs?
In accordance with applicable law, the manager or owner of an apartment, industrial or corporate building is obliged to ensure the safety of persons staying inside the property, as well as passers-by. In winter, it should take care of regular and safe snow removal of roofs.
Excess snow on the roof can lead to a construction disaster, and dangling icicles that form on gutters and in the gutter belt can endanger passers-by. The building manager should plan the activities of snow removal of the roof and the removal of icicles in order to take into account the strength of the roof structure and to prevent its violation and, above all, to ensure the safety of workers.
Snow removal of roofs, especially steep roofs, is always a constant risk of slipping and falling. Therefore, such work should be organised with extreme care and the requirements for employees must be particularly high.
Snow removal of roofs is a work of height, so that the risk of accidents is reduced to a minimum, for this type of work only persons should be allowed:
- with up-to-date medical examinations to work at altitude,
- after general and post health and safety training, as well as fall protection training.
On the other hand, the person responsible for snow removal work should:
- supervise employees directly and prepare for them a proper division of tasks,
- equip workers with appropriate personal protective equipment,
- develop a rescue and evacuation plan.
When clearing roofs, it is good practice to use collective protection measures, e.g. railings, protective nets or grilles on skylights. This increases the safety of those working there. Where there are no such safeguards, workers must be provided with personal protective equipment and trained in how to use them.
High frost, low temperature and strong wind are factors that adversely affect the well-being of the employee, in addition, they cause the risk of frostbite. Persons working under such conditions should have:
- adequate protective clothing ensuring thermal comfort, protection against excessive sweating and moisture,
- footwear with a non-slip sole (due to the risk of frostbite of the toes, do not use footwear with metal toes!),
- gloves (they must always be put on because they protect your hands from cold and moisture),
- protective helmet (it is necessary because it protects the head from injuries. When it is cold under the helmet, put on a chimney sweep).
The employer should provide a room where the employee will be able to eat, warm up and relax.
If the building has not undergone periodic technical inspection and the technical condition of the roof raises doubts, workers must not be allowed to work – this may endanger their lives and health.
The owner of the property should specify, in agreement with the authorized builder, how to clean the roof so as not to damage the structure of the building.
Always make sure that the roof load is allowed and that snow removal does not damage its covering.
When working on the roof, the area should be protected so that nothing threatens the people passing by the building. The fenced area should cover an area 1/10th of the height of the building, but not less than 6 metres wide.
Other measures should also be taken to ensure the safety of persons in the vicinity of the snow-covered site by:
- the adjacent walkway,
- blockage of the passage on one side of the street,
- driving of pedestrian and car traffic by the person at the bottom,
- if the pavement or roadway is blocked by parked cars, you must notify the City Hall or the City Guard as soon as possible.