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Building Products December 2017

ROOFING, CLADDING AND ACCESSORIES SHINING A LIGHT ON TORCH SAFETY The National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) reports that its Safe2Torch campaign has been widely embraced by the roofing industry since it was implemented five months ago. Here, NFRC technical and health and safety officer, Gary Walpole, explains the background to the pledge and why he believes risk-management needs to stay at the forefront of construction. 52 BUILDING PRODUCTS | DECEMBER 2017 specification writers to comply with the Construction Design and Management (CDM) Regulations 2015 which state that: ‘The person who selects products for use in construction is a designer and must take account of health and safety issues arising from their use. If a product is purpose-built, the person who prepares the Hot works are forever prevalent in our industry. From drying a substrate and cutting, grinding and welding, to applying torch-on roofing membranes, heating bitumen and hot melt boilers, they form a huge percentage of our workload. In fact, gas torches are used on more than 60% of all flat roof works in the UK and these applications, under the wrong conditions, could cause a fire. At the NFRC, we have long worked with our members to embrace best practice in the industry and this naturally includes health and safety. And this is why, back in July, we released comprehensive guidance for the use of propane gas torches when applying roofing membranes and drying roof surfaces. This guidance is called Safe2Torch. Putting safety first The roofing sector has been proactive in risk management for a very long time which is why the Safe2Torch campaign, created in partnership with contractor and manufacturer members of the NFRC, is so important. After all, roof fires caused by hot works pose a serious threat to life, property and the image of the roofing industry – as well as the long-term future of torch-on as an accepted method of covering a roof. The Safe2Torch campaign therefore seeks to promote the positive side of the industry, where safe specifications and safe working practices are second nature. Our aim when drawing up the document was to put safety first at the design stage. So, under the campaign, fire risks must be identified at the survey and factored in to the specification before it is written. Where any fire risk has been identified or where it cannot be ruled out, roofers must default to torch-free options. If it can be demonstrated that an area is safe then the specification can, if agreed between all parties, revert to torch application. What’s involved? In a nutshell, Safe2Torch is a broad risk management strategy. It is designed to support


Building Products December 2017
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