Health and Safety Compliance
Polyhouses.com is committed to ensure the Health, Safety and Welfare of everyone involved in the building and recladding of our polyhouse structures.
Under the Work at Height regulations 2005, employers and those in control of any work at height activity must make sure work is properly planned, supervised and carried out by competent people.
Single span polyhouses
Single span polyhouses can be built and clad without any specialised equipment as access to all sides should be available from ground level. However, on higher sided polytunnels risk assessments must be carried out by a competent person and control measures must be put in place, where necessary, to ensure a safe system of work. This may mean using equipment such as scaffold towers or scissor lifts.
Twin and multispan polyhouses
The construction of twin and multispan polyhouses requires a higher number of safety measures to ensure the safety of personnel. In this instance, the highest risk is falls from height when operatives are gaining access to, walking in and working from the valley gutters. As these hazards cannot be eliminated, the only viable safe system of working is from within the gutter.
To mitigate any falls from height, safety nets need to be fitted to the structure on either side of the valley gutter. It has been established that the most efficient layout of the nets is to have one either side of a valley gutter, fixed to each post at the gutter and secured to the ridge bar in an upward direction to maintain an incline of the nets to minimise any fall height. No gaps or obstructions; e.g. support canes, benches etc, underneath are permitted in the netting that would allow someone to fall through.
Re-cladding or refurbishing
If cladding or recladding a twin-span polytunnel, two nets will be required. If building or refurbishing a multispan structure, then a minimum of four nets will be required. When the first two spans have been successfully clad, two of the nets can be moved to the next unprotected valley gutter.
Under no circumstances should walking the gutter of a clad framework without netting underneath be deemed a safe working platform.
Old polythene, due to age and ultraviolet breakdown, becomes very brittle and will not sustain the load of someone falling against it. Similarly, new polythene may seem strong enough but if pierced a tear line will form if a load is applied.
These structures have fragile roofs and any access for maintenance or repair must be carefully risk assessed and work carried out by trained and competent people.
If you have any further concerns about health and safety and our polyhouses, please contact us or check the HSE website’s guide Working safely at height (PDF, link opens in new window).