The problem of falls from the other, however, is not just an Italian problem, and today we focus on an injury cardpublished on the Suva site , a Swiss institute for insurance and accident prevention.
A Suva card is dedicated to the fall of a worker from a roof, related to the Swiss campaign ” Vision 250 lives “, entitled ” Worker breaks through a roof and is seriously injured “.
A new shed is annexed to an old barn of a farm. And a worker, a temporary worker, is covering a barn roof with corrugated fiber cement sheets together with a colleague .
In particular, the colleague has to “mount ridge flashings” and the first worker carries the pieces on the roof by choosing the most direct route and passing through the roof of the old barn.
Suddenly one of these slabs, become fragile with time, breaks under his feet and the worker falls from a height of 6.5 meters inside the barn, reporting serious injuries.
Why did the accident happen?
The Suva card indicates that:
– the worker climbed on a non-breaking roof without a fall arrester. “He and his superior did not realize the danger or underestimated the risks. In this situation, all the workers would have to say STOP “(ie to stop the work);
– “the protection measures were incomplete. A safety net had been installed under the load-bearing structure of the new barn. ” However, “the roofers forgot to secure the roof of the old barn. At the very least they would have to block access to the old roof “;
– “on the whole roof there were no catwalks. The company had not established clear working instructions on how to intervene on a non-break-resistant cover or in its immediate vicinity. In the preparation phase of the works, we “forgot” to secure the roof of the old barn and to position the walkways “.
So, summarizing, these are the causal factors of the accident:
– workers climbed on a roof that was not resistant to breakage ;
– the roof of the old barn, not resistant to breakage, had neither been barred nor secured;
– the company had not written clear work instructions in writing “;
– superiors and employees had not been sensitized to stop work in this situation.
To offer some suggestions for the prevention of this type of incident, the Suva sheet proposes reading the Suva document concerning the ” Nine vital rules for those working on roofs and facades “.
Let’s briefly recall the rules :
1. Make secure access
2. Secure areas with falling risks
3. Prevent falls into the building
4. Secure the openings in the roof
5. Ensure break resistant surfaces
6. Work on the facades only with safe equipment
7. Inspect scaffolding
8. Use the fall arrest harness correctly
9. Protect yourself from asbestos dust
We focus in particular on the fifth rule : ” we work only on surfaces resistant to breakage “ :
– Worker: “on roofs that are not completely resistant to breakage work only after having adopted effective protective measures. In case of doubt, I address my superior before getting on the roof;
– Superior: I make sure that the work stations on the roofs are on surfaces resistant to breakage. If this is not the case, take effective protective measures “.
The sheet, which refers to a Swiss Ordinance on construction works, indicates that “it is forbidden to work on roofing surfaces that are not resistant to breakage”. You can only work “if it has been ascertained with certainty that these are break-resistant covers. If the roof is not totally resistant to breakage, it is necessary to adopt adequate safety measures “.
In particular – indicates the Swiss card – the following materials are not considered break resistant:
– “corrugated fiber cement sheets;
– «Shed» skylights or plastic panels (eg polycarbonate);
– domed skylights in plastic (eg polycarbonate);
– wood-fiber panels and wood-cement panels often used in the under roof covering. “
What shatterproof measures can be applied?
– “assembly of safety nets below the roof;
– create a walking surface bearing on the roof surface with a total lateral protection;
– load-bearing gangways with parapet on both sides “.