Look Twice Act Once - Roof Space Part 3 - Airborne Contaminents

Welcome back to Week three of our Look Twice, Act Once campaign on Roof Space, and how to stay safe in them. So far we’ve looked at unstable ceilings, and what appropriate clothing to wear in a roof space. Now, we are going to look at Airborne Contaminants.

Invisible airborne contaminants in roofspaces can pose serious health risks. And they can range from building dust, silica dust, CO2, and even asbestos.

They can also be a result of disturbing other hazardous material like droppings from rodents or other fauna.

These are a key reason as to why it is highly important to wear a mask at all times when in roof spaces. But there are also a few other things you can do to ensure that you’re as safe as you can be whilst in a confined roof space.

  1. Take regular breaks, and keep the manholes and access points open

    When you’re in a roof space, it’s not only heat that you’re exposed to. If you minimise your overall exposure time, this could help you avoid major issues later on down the track, and fresh air is always welcome!
  2. Check your mask is fitted properly and has good filter life

    If you’re working in an enclosed, dusty environment it’s critical your mask is fitted properly. At a minimum you should be using an n95 mask – but respirator-style masks are arguably better as the interchangeable filters will allow you to change your protection depending on the job you’re doing. Ensure there is a firm seal around the mask to your face, so you are actually breathing through the mask and not through cracks on the side. Also make sure your filters – if your mask has them – are clean and not blocked up.
  3. Watch what you’re disturbing!

    As you’re scuttling about in a roof space, sometimes It’s hard to have eyes everywhere – but it is quite important that you stay cognisant of where you are putting your feet and hands, and what you are disturbing. Sending large plumes of dust – or worse – into the air could be bad for your health (and that of your workmate). So watching what you’re moving and bumping is important!
  4. If you see something odd, get out!

    As we’ve mentioned before – if you notice something in the roof space that isn’t right and you don’t feel safe – get out. It’s much better to be overcautious then to be affected by something which could have been preventable. And remember, when you’re exiting the roof, make sure to watch where you’re putting your feet – especially going down the ladder!

So there you have it – a few ways to keep you safe from airborne contaminants whilst working in the roof! Next week we will be focussing on toxic and biological hazards, so stay tuned!

Published on: Friday, 17 June 2022