Look Twice, Act Once - Roof Spaces Part 1 - PPE

Welcome to our Look Twice, Act Once campaign for June! This month we are going to be taking a deep-dive into working in roof-spaces.

With the hotter months behind us, roof spaces are actually not too bad a spot to work in – unlike the 40-degree summer heat which can bake you alive under a terracotta hotplate. As a result, many owners and even you might want to get up into the roof to have some things fixed whilst it’s a better time of year to do so. But, as with every area of a jobsite, there are hazards. So, we are going to walk you through some things to look out for, and some ways to protect yourself when crawling around a roof space!

Starting with, this week – Appropriate Clothing.

We know that working on a jobsite you should have you standard clothing at all times – those being work boots, long pants, and long-sleeved tops. These go a long way to protect you everywhere – not just in a roof space.

But in a roof space it’s highly important you assess what the risk is within the roof, and adjust your PPE accordingly.

At a baseline, when working in a roof, you should have on the long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and your work boots. But, in addition to this, you should also have on gloves, protective eyewear, and a mask. We’d also recommend picking up a head-mounted torch.

  1. The Mask

    Masks are massively important in any roof space. The possibility of air-borne insulation fibres, or worse, getting into your lungs can be an immediate hazard, or cause you serious life-long complications down the line. So, wearing a good n95 mask at least goes a long way to help protect you.
  2. Protective eye wear

    You don’t’ want things falling into your eyes at the best of times – and when you’re in a cramped, less-than-ideally lit workspace the risk is doubled. So, wearing good, proper eye protection which wraps around the eye and stops particles from getting in from as many angles as practically possible is an absolute must.
  3. Gloves.

    We know it sounds simple. But imagine crawling through an old roof space and getting a splinter or two. Now, not usually a big deal, you just pull them out with tweezers or some such – but if something like this startles you and you suddenly put your foot down in the wrong spot? You could end up going through a clients ceiling. And that, is not good for you, the house, the clients, or business in general. You could also be at risk from the general lack of hygiene found in a roof space (we’ll touch on this in a later post this month).
  4. Long shirt and pants

    This is standard for us here at EGT – so long tops and bottoms aren’t going to have to be a special piece of kit for you. However, we DO recommend tucking them into each other, and your pants into your work boots as well. This is to help stop any fibres or unwanted material getting close to your skin which could cause irritation, or even damage.
  5. Boots

    Again, part of your standard kit. Good, proper boots will help you avoid having your foot punctured by unseen nails which were left protruding dangerously, and will also help protect your ankles from any shunts and bumps if you move through rafters and joists.
  6. Torch

    Perhaps not part of your standard kit, but light always helps illuminate the situation. We’d recommend picking up a headlamp if possible, that way you can have your hands free to keep yourself steady as you move around in an unknown space.

So there you have it! Some basic PPE you should always don before heading into a roof space – whether you know the roof space or not. If you keep to the above PPE equipment, you will significantly reduce your risk in a roof space!

Published on: Friday, 3 June 2022