Accessing facades safely is one of the most important aspects of facade restoration planning when working at height. Let’s take a look at how we at See Brilliance ensure our employees’ safety at every step.
Why is safety important during facade restoration activities?
Falling from height, dropping harmful tools and heavy machinery used in the restoration process, not being trained at using the rope access, avoidable injuries caused due to lack of knowledge or training, and a poor rescue plan – are common risks that accompany every facade restoration job we undertake.
The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 mandates that it’s the duty of every employer to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all our employees. It’s also necessary for all employers to take reasonably practicable steps to ensure the health and safety of people who are not in their employment, such as members of the public.
But that’s not the only reason we work with safety systems; Legal requirement or not, we want to be fully equipped to prevent all accidents, which are in our control, as much as possible.
Working at height – How facade inspection is conducted
Facades are usually classified as Safe, SWARMP, and Unsafe:
- A safe facade is exactly that – safe. It may require some tweaks or maintenance work in some cases but overall, it is safe to be around.
- A SWARMP or Safe With a Repair and Maintenance Program is a facade that requires some preventive work or needs to be repaired in a specific period of time to classify as completely safe.
- An unsafe facade is one that requires immediate attention because it is unreliable and dangerous for everyone around it.
Before a facade is restored, we need to make sure that we have as many details of the project as possible. This is only achievable by conducting a thorough risk assessment of the site and facade due to be worked on.
How we ensure safety when working at height
Access via abseil (a.k.a. rope access)
Facade restoration is a specialist business. It can involve working over busy areas, making health and safety all the more important.
Abseiling can be a good way to conduct facade restoration safely when working at height. It’s an effective method of working at height when access via cradle, scaffold and/or Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP) is unavailable.
While our facade restoration team at See Brilliance do employ scaffolding and cradles for some facade works (more on that later), we, at times, rely on abseiling as it provides us with scalable access to reach all areas of a building facade or cladding. It allows us to work on high-rise buildings, such as historical landmarks and commercial buildings.
Mobile Elevated Work Platform (MEWP)
A Mobile Elevated Work Platform is a working platform that is intended to be self-propelled, or 4-wheel driven. It is a type of crane built into a portable device that has up to four rising arms which support the elevated work platform as it moves along on wheels.
The components of a MEWP, commonly known as a cherry picker, include a base; an elevated platform; and one or more stabilising outriggers to lift the vehicle attached to the mobile platform for safety and functional purposes.
We use MEWPs for all types of projects just to be safe; even if you want us to remove the scratches from your glass facade or remove graffiti from a first-floor external wall.
Not only does a MEWP ensure the safety of the general public and our employees but it actually makes working at height more comfortable for our team, which allows them to do their job more effectively without any distractions.
With that being said, the only practical drawback of using a MEWP is that it can only give you access to a certain height – something which varies from MEWP to MEWP. For this reason, we have cradles and permanent access.
Cradles and permanent access
Cradles are complex lifting devices that are used in facade restoration. They allow our operatives to carry out facade restoration tasks when working at not just height but any height indeed. These basket-like sidewalls can be lowered via the roof and can be used to address problems on specific spots on the outside of the building.
For a more advanced safety solution, there are permanent access monorails that can be securely installed using the existing rigging system in your building to allow workers to work on that specific level for longer durations.
Cradles can also be attached to these monorails to allow employees to move from one corner of the building to another with incredible ease.
Working with a professional facade restoration and maintenance company
Safety is of paramount importance when working on a building facade. This is why it is so important to choose a professional facade restoration contractor who uses safe systems and techniques to get the job done in the dedicated time.
At See Brilliance, we are not only aware of the government’s safety requirements when it comes to jobs related to facade maintenance but are fully equipped to deliver hassle-free, safe restoration works.
For three decades, our facade experts have done their best to mitigate the risks associated with working at height by following more than just the mandatory safety protocol for all our projects. And we are sure we can safely restore your building, too!
See Brilliance specialises in restorative commercial cleaning of metal, glass and stone. We provide commercial façade restoration, stone façade restoration, glass façade restoration, TORC Cleaning, graffiti removal, and much more, all across the UK.
If you’d like to get in touch today, call our team directly on 01635 230 888 or email [email protected]