43% of trainee roofers fear injury or death whilst on site

A survey of over 200 trainee roofers by Redland has revealed that fear of injury or death is the biggest concern for 43% of them. Of the 212 surveyed, 63 said that they were most worried about falling from height, 12 cited health and safety issues, 11 said injuries and five said they feared death.

Mat Woodyatt, Redland’s technical training manager said: “These results are a stark reminder that the industry needs to do more to ensure that we are working safely. How can we attract more young people to our industry if they are facing these fears?”

Statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) show that the trainees are right to be concerned. In 2015/16, four of the 45 workers killed in construction were involved in roofing activities.

Redland has been working to counter unsafe working practices since it opened the National Training Centre in 1983. To date it has trained over 45,000 people and claims to be the only manufacturer approved to deliver the CITB-funded Basic Competency Programme (BCP) for pitched roofing which entitles operatives to apply for a red ‘experienced worker’ CSCS card.

“Safety is an integral part of all the training we do, understanding what the risks are, discussing what the safest working practices are and learning where accidents have happened in the past,” says Woodyatt.

Findings from the survey also suggest that the industry needs to do more to reach would-be roofers during their time at school and college. By far the most common reason for students gave for joining the industry was having friends or family in roofing: 22%, followed by 14% who wanted to work outside, 12% who were attracted by money and 12% who wanted to have a trade. Just 2% said that they were attracted by a career in roofing through school or college and 2% came to roofing through apprenticeships or work experience.

Roofing is currently one of the hardest hit trades in terms of skills shortages. A survey by the Federation of Master Builders in the last quarter of 2016 showed that 46% of small and medium-sized construction companies were experiencing difficulties in hiring roofers.