Don't buy this product

We often receive phone calls from building owners, facility managers, maintenance staff or a management company board member asking us to quote for a Weightanka which can be left on a roof in the event of maintenance or repair work being carried out at some point in the future.

However, leaving a piece of equipment like the Weightanka available on the roof on the ‘off chance’ causes additional problems.

Buying safety products

The Working at Height Regulations, amongst other things, require any work at height to be planned as the result of a Risk Assessment.  For example, did you think of the following when you bought safety equipment?

  • Is it in the correct position to carry out the identified job? If the job is of a short duration then it is unlikely a worker will spend 10-15 minutes re-setting up a safety system and will instead risk doing without.
  • Has the equipment been inspected and certified as a minimum in the previous 12 months prior to use?
  • Have you budgeted for an annual re-certification?
  • Is the worker trained to use that particular piece of equipment you intend them to use?
  • Do they have the correct, in date and inspected, PPE with them?
  • Are there other fall hazards like fragile rooflights between the equipment and roof edge?
  • Have they been rescue trained?

Although it is understandable wanting to provide a ‘safe’ piece of equipment to allow maintenance staff to do work at height as they are on your roof, each task needs to thought about separately.

Is it regular planned maintenance (i.e. at least once a year)? Then in that case provide equipment to specifically carry out that particular task, don’t try and provide a ‘one fits all solution’.

Often people will say I need something on the roof in case it leaks, that may happen once in five or ten years or perhaps even never happen,  so plan the work and a safe method of access once the situation arises, don’t invest a lump of money just on the off-chance.

Safety work tick boxes

While a lot of custodians inherit a roof that has plant or equipment positioned on the roof from historical decisions, if new equipment is being installed, think does it need to go on the roof at all? Or if it does can it be placed in a safe area where maintenance staff’s exposure to a fall hazard is minimised?

Another reason I’m given for wanting to purchase is to provide some safety equipment to minimise the costs of a contractor needing to add that cost onto a quote to carry out some repair work safely, it’s often a false economy and if the worst ever happened and someone fell, are you ready to defend yourself that proper safe method was not used to save a few hundred pounds?

In summary, if it’s a ‘one off’ employ a trained and competent contractor who can provide a Risk assessment and Method Statement for you to review with them to safely carry out the work. Otherwise identify the task and if it’s regular buy equipment based on it being used for that specific purpose by someone who is trained in its use.

It may be a run of free-standing roof guardrail to restrict their access to a certain part of the roof or even the use of a portable anchor like the Weightanka or Wireanka, that you may decide to purchase for future works or the contractor may decide he can use this type of equipment for other works for other clients, if that is the case then I can recommend a very good website….

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