Using insulated panel systems on the roof reduces the risks of working at height; both by virtue of the fact that less time is spent there, and because properly fixed insulated panels can provide a safe, walkable, progressive working platform from which to place and fix the next panels.

Under the 2007 Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations, designers have a liability to consider the removal of any hazards at source, including the handling and installation of roofing materials. Ultimate responsibility for site safety falls on the client, with the requirement for a CDM Co-ordinator to be appointed as soon as possible after the initial planning stages. However, all parties have a responsibility to minimise risk and reduce potential hazards such as working at height as much as possible.

The CDM Regulations are due to come under revision early in 2013. A quick guide to the CDM Regulations is downloadable from: http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg411.pdf

It is worth noting that under the Corporate Manslaughter Act, which came into force on 6 April 2008, companies, whatever their size, can be held criminally liable for serious failures in the management of health and safety risks which result in a fatality. For more information about the Corporate Manslaughter Act, visit: http://www.hse.gov.uk/corpmanslaughter/about.htm.

Fully trained operatives using mechanical handling equipment can help to reduce the risks of working at height and greatly increase site safety.

Training

Proper training in the use of mechanical handling equipment is vital to maintain standards of health and safety, as well as to maximise the programme benefits. Some insulated panel manufacturers, and most hire companies, offer free training to roofing contractors and cladding operatives.

Planning

An assessment of which equipment is appropriate for the site; the proper planning of the loads and deliveries; site storage and clear access is an important aspect of the successful use of mechanical handling equipment.