Unauthorised roof access and falls from height: Could this be your fault?

Unauthorised roof access


Question: Someone goes on your roof – even if they shouldn’t be there in the first place - and falls. Whose fault is it?


Answer: It could be yours.


Falls from height form 26% of injuries caused by workplace accidents in the UK; and this number does not take into consideration accidents taking place outside the work environment.

So - what do you do when individuals can gain unauthorised access to an area at height?

Make sure it is impossible for them to get there in the first place

Two teenagers reportedly gained access to a New Look store roof and used the area to ride their scooters and chill out. While waiting for the police as the boys sat on the roof edge, onlookers wondered how they got there in the first place.

Assess risks thoroughly and put appropriate safety measures in place

As a business, you are obliged to look after your customers’ and employees’ safety while on your premises. This means that you need to make sure that you’ve put all measures in place to keep them out of hazardous areas, such as roofs. If you fail to do that, you could be held responsible for any accidents resulting from your omission. This means that you could be found vicariously liable for negligence. Read more about vicarious liability.

What you need to do

  1. Have your site surveyed: Ask for specialist help to assess potential hazards and help you choose the correct safety solutions
  2. Make sure you limit access to hazardous areas: Install safety railing and barrier systems where necessary. Roof edge protection, together with a barrier solution or a self-closing gate could prevent a fall from height.
  3. Add clear signage to warn people of potential hazards.
  4. Implement additional security measures: Train your staff on health and safety procedures, install video cameras or security guards if suitable.

Not sure where to start?

We can assess your site, recommend and build the right safety solutions for your business. Just get in touch.


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