Construction techniques and approaches have been evolving considerably over the past few decades, with operatives benefiting from enhanced safety measures and greater technology to increase outputs while upholding strength of construction. However, at times the industry can be slow to adopt new methods of working, reluctant to amend established approaches for more advanced techniques.
A key example of this has been the use of gas torches for application of membranes; a traditionally swift and efficient method for waterproofing structures. While efficient, the technique has been identified as risky, both in terms of the application process itself, and the subsequent elevated risks from roof fires through drying the structure.
Safe2Torch seeks to change the industry
As a result, an initiative called ‘Safe2Torch’ has launched a campaign to highlight the risks inherent in applying waterproofing systems, both in terms of the membranes applied and the installation process. The campaign is seeking to influence construction teams to identify potential risks during the site survey, and work to adopt less hazardous waterproofing approaches to keep their operatives safe.
This includes undertaking a comprehensive risk assessment prior to commencing works, and identifying mitigation for the risks which have been listed. Key risks associated with the waterproofing process include cladding, breather membranes, pitched roofs and combustible materials – all of which heighten the hazards involved in the process. Mitigation measures may include re-ordering the sequence of works (for example by undertaking flashings earlier in the process), to enhance the options for using cold-applied products.
A new way forward for roofing safety
New waterproofing measures which don’t require heat application are coming to the market all the time, and contractors may choose from options including cold and liquid applications, or self-adhesive membrane. IKO has pioneered a range of products which can be applied without the traditional risks associated with heat application, including high-performance liquid adhesives, and Ruberseal EDPM membrane.
The lower risk associated with cold-applied products
The Safe2Torch campaign will be working with contractors across the roofing industry to provide information about the risks in using gas torches, with a view to eradicating hazards to operatives from working with heat.
Find out more by visiting https://www.nfrc.co.uk/safe2torch.