Working on chimneys, either installing liners, or carrying out repairs, almost always involves working at height on the exterior of the building. Gaining access to the roof and setting up a stable working platform can be a risky business, so it’s essential it is done by trained professionals using the right, high quality equipment designed specifically for the task at hand. This is true at all times, but even more necessary when weather conditions are poor, or the site is unstable or in need of repair. In these cases, it is probably best to consider full scaffolding to minimise the risk to yourself and the property.
So, with this in mind, what equipment would be needed to carry out a safe and secure chimney repair or installation?
The Ladder Stopper And Stand Offs
The minimum requirement to gain access to a roof is a properly secured ladder that extends at least 1m above the point at which you will step off and a purpose made roof ladder. The top of the leaning ladder should not rest against fragile materials such as plastic guttering so, a stand-off should be used to support the top of the ladder. To prevent the base of the ladder slipping, we recommend the use of the Ladder Stopper. This is better than having an adult foot the ladder as it never needs to take a break.
Adjust Abil Roof Ladder
The Adjust Abil is a telescopic, folding ladder suitable for use in professional environments. It has round, rubber-faced pivoting tubular feet that spread the load either side of the roof ridge (which is often where chimneys are located). Typically, the Adjust Abil ladder is used for quick jobs or short-term work, when the work site is just out of reach, but it does not require a full scaffolding set up. So, if you are carrying out a quick repair or inspection, then it’s a good option. Make sure it is tied in though.
Another good option for these smaller jobs is Ron Clark’s ladder rest (see more below). It makes a perfect pairing with the Adjust Abil ladder.
Ron Clark’s Ladder Rest
Using a ladder to get from the roof to a stack that is part way down the slope of the roof, is okay if it is light work, short duration, and tied in. If it’s angled into the job you’re working on and tied to the stack, the likelihood of the ladder pulling away is very slim. The main concern is the base of the ladder sliding down the roof slope into the stack. The addition of a Ron Clark Ladder Rest stops it slipping down the roof slope. The ladder rest is adjustable for use with a wide range of roof slopes and lengths of ladder.
These are more typically used for longer-term, bigger jobs, such as replacing or installing liners, or making larger repairs to brickwork. If you are going to be on the roof for an extended period, then having a more serious and stable working platform is always a good idea. The guard rail also prevents falls. And, although the CARS unit looks like scaffolding, it is available at a fraction of the cost. However, it does generally take five or six trips to the roof to assemble.
Fall Arrest Safety Equipment
Also known as FASE, this is a secondary security measure used in conjunction with collective protection, i.e. guardrails and toe boards. It’s important to know that FASE does not prevent falls but does stop you hitting the ground should a fall occur. It consists of a sling that wraps around the chimney stack as an anchor point, a harness that can be adjusted to fit the wearer, and an inertia reel lanyard to give freedom of movement with the minimum of free fall if a fall should occur.
Working on a chimney, even at lower heights, is never to be attempted unless you have the training and correct safety equipment to carry out the job safely. For more information, contact the team at Ability International to discover more about our range of roof safety products.
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