Is your roof safe for contractors?

Is your roof safe for contractors?

If you have a roof that needs to be accessed for cleaning and/ or maintenance you must ensure that it is compliant with current Health and Safety legislation. 

Under the Work at Height Regulations 2005, it is the legal duty and moral responsibility of those in control of rooftop work to do all that is reasonably practical to prevent anyone from falling.

This can be done in a number of ways with either collective protection or personal protection systems which, when installed must then be tested and maintained annually. At 1st Choice High Level Cleaning and Maintenance, we have over 20 years experience in fitting and testing both collective and personal protection systems.

We work closely with Kee Safety and are fully accredited as competent for height safety systems and are suitably insured. Fall protection can cover a wide range of products and situations which can appear confusing. You can see the range of products available on the Kee Safety website but if you are unsure about what you need or how to ensure compliance then we can help advise you.

Questions to consider about your fall safety obligations


Does my roof need to be accessed?

If the answer is yes then you need to ensure you have the relevant collective or personal protection in place. We can advise you on the right type of system for your roof or it may be that there is already one installed and it just needs to be recertified.

One way of starting the process is to ask yourself what needs to be done on the roof, is it installing or cleaning the guttering, repairs to the roof or testing the air conditioning system. Other questions may be, is there an incline? Are there any skylights? With over 20 years experience we can help you work through these issues to ensure you have the right fall protection system in place for your building

Do I need a collective or a personal protection system in place?

Collective protection might be in the form of parapet walls or guardrails ( passive system) whilst personal protection might be in the form of a fall arrest or a fall restraint system (active system) which is attached to the individual.

What is the difference between a fall restraint and fall arrest system? 

A fall restraint stops the person getting near to the risk at all eg the edge of the roof or the skylight and a fall arrest system limits the risk of a serious consequence if they do fall. Please note that fall arrest systems must have a rescue plan in place to help the individual once they have fallen.

What is Mansafe?

Mansafe is the generic term for fall arrest and fall restraint systems

How often do they need to be tested?

Like the MOT on your car, fall protection systems need to be tested and recertified annually. It is really important to choose the right height safety specialist contractor to test them as each anchor bolt needs to be tested individually with a proper tool. All our tools are sent off annually for calibration and testing so we can be sure our tests are accurate. Beware of contractors who test very quickly. Many Mansafe systems have lots of safety eyebolts which need to be tested individually and beware of anyone claiming to test them with a spanner! They also need testing immediately after use in a  fall.

Which fall protection systems need to be tested annually?

  • Cat ladders 
  • Fall arrest and fall restraint systems 
  • Roof deadweight anchors
  • Roof fall arrest harness anchors 
  • Roof guardrail systems 
  • Safety eyebolts

Abseil anchors Need to be tested six monthly in line with lolar 1998

What happens if we don’t test them? 

If you don’t have them recertified and someone has an accident the consequences could be very serious, but even if there is no accident and they are not recertified, the HSE will be unhappy as the risk of injury is still present. It is just not worth the risk.

What legislation is there?

Under Work at Height Regulations 2005, it is the legal duty and moral responsibility of those in control of rooftop work to do all that is reasonably practical to prevent anyone from falling.

We are accredited as competent to test fall safety equipment under current British and European standards

Personal Protection standards

  • BS8437: 2012 is a code of practice for their selection use & maintenance. 
  • BSN EN356: 2004 covers personal protective equipment against falls from a height, general requirements for instructions for use, maintenance, periodic examination, repair, marking and packaging
  • EN795: 2012 relates to the design and testing of personal protection systems
  • BS7883: 2005 provides guidance on the installation, use, and maintenance of EN795 systems
  • The British Standards Institution (BSI) has published  PD CEN/TS 16415: 2013, to complement EN 795: 2012.