Workers installing roof and wall cladding should take personal precautions to avoid damage to skin and eyes due to ultraviolet radiation.
Sunscreen or sunglasses should be used, particularly during the time of highest exposure (11 am to 2 pm ).
Ultraviolet radiation burning can be mistaken for windburn on windy days, and cloudy days can also produce severe burning. Some workers with a fair or sensitive skin., should always wear sunscreen protection when laying roof cladding. Glare from aluminium foil vapour barriers and from new metal roof and wall cladding can cause sunburn to some areas of the body not normally exposed to the sun.
Special care must be exercised when handling long-length sheeting, particularly in wet or windy conditions.
If the work is interrupted for any reason, or at the end of the workday, all loose sheeting and incomplete sections must be adequately secured against possible movement by wind.
Loose packs or loose sheets that have not been securely fastened must not be walked on.
When cutting metal with power equipment, eye protection must be used.
Gloves should be provided as personal protective equipment (PPE), and are an option for workers learning to handle sheet metal, however as experienced roofers often regard them as a hazard, they are not required unless expressly requested by the roofing supervisor or person in authority.
Reroofing presents a number of personal hazards. The condition of old metal or any other type of roof cladding cannot be ascertained until a detailed inspection is made. This should first be done from underneath, however, all translucent, asbestos, and fibre sheets should be regarded as brittle and safety precautions taken.
A booklet entitled 'Guidelines for the Management and removal of Asbestos' is available from Worksafe.
Translucent sheeting is not designed as a trafficable roof and it must not be assumed that a worker can stand anywhere on translucent sheeting.
Some owners paint over translucent sheets or skylights to remove glare, and this is not always obvious when viewed from the top of the roof. These sheets present a safety hazard, which should be investigated before re-roofing commences.
If the sheeting is too wide for a worker to cross safely, a short metal sheet should be temporarily secured over the translucent sheeting further than 2 m back from the edge of the roof.
Footwear should be in good condition, as worn footwear or loose or torn clothing can be a self-induced hazard, for which the worker himself is to blame. The weight should be evenly distributed on the soles of the feet without concentrating it on the toe or heel, and be placed in the pan of the roof cladding. When this is not possible the weight should be spread evenly over two ribs. See 13.6 Walking On Roofs.
Roof cladding is tested to a static load of 1.1 kN, which equals 112 kg and is meant to represent a worker carrying tools. It is therefore unlikely that a roof worker weighing more than 90 kg could avoid damaging a roof, because of the dynamic nature of the task.
Site supervisors should be made aware of the weight of everybody requiring access to the roof and should recognise that no two people should stand closer than 2 m from each other withing the same purlin spacing.
Tools should be hoisted up in a bucket when at the top of the ladder.
Workers should be aware of the added danger of climbing a ladder initially to secure it at the top . A second person should secure the ladder at the bottom while this is achieved.
A ladder that extends less than one metre above the roof gutter, does not provide sufficient security for access, and alternative arrangements must be made. Carrying equipment up a ladder must be limited to small items that still allow both hands to grip the rails.
Inspections of roofs are sometimes made by persons other than workers, such as owners, architects, and engineers who are not conversant with safety requirements for working at height. It is a 'Duty of Care' of the Supervisor or person in authority to point out the specific hazards on the site, and to provide the safety equipment necessary to carry out their required tasks.
Workers taking medication without notification or who have ingested alcohol or other drugs are at risk when working at height. Because their actions place other workers at risk as their balance and judgment may be impaired, this is sufficient cause to dismiss a worker from the workplace or worksite.