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Written by
on 17 December 2015

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Scrooge or Safety? Why Building Safety Keeps Christmas Safe and Secure!

Health and safety in RoofingThe festive flurry always brings out a little madness in people – and health and safety often bears the brunt for all kinds of weird and wonderful myths out there!

And when this rather sad story was spotted – about Christmas being cancelled for a small Swansea church – it sounded like yet another case of ‘elf and safety being used as a scapegoat by the local Scrooge.

But on closer look, it highlights a very important point – making sure that building structures’ integrity is properly maintained and looked after, to keep them safe!

Read on to find out what you should be looking at to keep structures safe.

Winter damage

With the tumultuous weather of winter – from heavy gales and rainfall, to freezing temperatures, snow and ice – the environmental conditions can have a significant impact on a building.

So it’s a really good idea to check over a building at the start of winter for any signs of damage that could potentially worsen in extreme weather.

Things to look for? Loose tiles or slates, damage to masonry and boundary walls are all areas that could show early signs of damage.

Do a Workplace risk assessment

As well as looking out for weather-related building damage, you also need to do a broader workplace risk assessment to look out for any other red flags.

Because damage to a building isn’t just a case of physical deterioration – it can pose a serious safety risk to the people who use the building, or are simply passing by.

So a risk assessment is absolutely essential – before you start to do any repairs or maintenance work.

Are there are areas that could pose a safety hazard to building users or members of the public? This could be something structural – such as loose slates on a roof – or it could be an issue within the building itself – such as penetrating dampness.

Make time for maintenance

One of the biggest reasons for buildings falling into disrepair and becoming unsafe to use is that they just haven’t been properly taken care of.

And this is especially the case for older buildings. So what can you do?

If you do spot damage or areas that need repair, then don’t ignore them! Putting off repairs in the short term only leads to bigger – and more expensive and time consuming problems – in the long term.

So if you know that some maintenance is needed, don’t put it on the back burner but try to get it addressed as soon as possible. This will prevent small issues from becoming more serious, and posing a greater risk to the building’s integrity. 

Your takeaway points

Make sure buildings are safe before this busy time of year gets into force! Keep an eye out for the following:

  • Is there any pre-existing damage to the building that could get worse in wintery weather conditions?
  • Look out for loose tiles, masonry damage or other external faults
  • Do a thorough risk assessment – are there any hazards to people present?
  • Identify what steps you need to take to keep the area safe for building users and passers by
  • Don’t put maintenance on the back burner – it can only lead to a bigger repair bill later on!

Have any questions about building safety or construction? Get in touch with us or give a shout in the comments!

About 

Chartered health and safety consultant. 20+ years helping busy people in construction and the built environment. David provides how-to articles, advice and guidance to help explain and make compliance easier for clients. A solutionist with a brain you can pick. And you can easily get in touch with David on social media Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

Chartered health and safety consultant. 20+ years helping busy people in construction and the built environment. David provides how-to articles, advice and guidance to help explain and make compliance easier for clients. A solutionist with a brain you can pick. And you can easily get in touch with David on social media Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.

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