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Safety during roof work

Every year, workers are seriously injured or killed because they fall off a roof at work. Accidents happen when employees walk on non-load-bearing roof panels, such as cement corrugated sheets, glass panels and PVC panels.

The employer is responsible for protecting employees from falling from or through roofs. This can be prevented by using railings, safety nets and scaffolding. Read below about how to carry out roof work safely.

Serious risk

In the event of a serious risk, always secure against falling at the outside edges of the roof, regardless of the height of the building. This may be in connection with strong winds, a slippery roof or hard and sharp objects on the ground.

How to avoid accidents

  • Use scaffolding, railings, walkways, roof ladders and safety nets.
  • Only walk on sheet roofs if you have checked that the sheets are strong enough.
  • Assess the age and condition of the sheets as well as the distance between roof battens and the quality of the battens.
  • Read the instructions for use from the sheet supplier before installing the sheets.
  • Cover openings in the roof, e.g. with load-bearing boards, before walking on the roof. Also, remember to prevent falls at the installation edge of sheets, regardless of fall height.
  • Follow the instructions for use from the supplier when using roof lifts, and use a safety line.

The illustration shows the correct distances

Working at the foot of the roof 

Scaffolding to prevent falls from the foot of the roof must have a so-called box screen with a closed cover on the scaffolding deck and railings. Parts, such as scaffold pipes, must not project upwards.

The scaffolding deck must not be more than 0.5 metres below the upper side of the foot of the roof.  






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When carrying out roofing work, always prevent falls into the building, regardless of fall height. This can be done by combining safety nets and

On pitched roofs, you can also install C18 strength graded roof battens. Roof battens must be at least 38 x 73 mm with a maximum span of 1 metre,
and the distance from upper edge to upper edge must not exceed 46 cm. 


The illustration shows the correct distances

Roofs with a pitch of less than 15 degrees 

If the pitch of a roof is less than 15 degrees, and the fall height is more than 3.5 metres, you must set up a 1-metre-high railing along the edge of the roof or set up a marker at least 2 metres from the edge of the roof.

Note that you cannot use safety lines instead of collective safety arrangements such as railings, if your total work lasts more than about 4 hours. Remember to cover holes in the roof surface.

The illustration shows the correct distances

Roofs pitched at more than 15 degrees 

If the pitch of a roof is more than 15 degrees, you must secure against falls at the foot of the roof, e.g. with a screen.

This applies if the foot of the roof is more than 2 metres above ground level, and you are working at a height above 5 metres. Railings must be set up at gables if they are higher than 2 metres.







Read more about the regulations

Note that we have only highlighted the most important regulations on safety during roof work. Learn more about the regulations in the WEA Guidelines and the MANUAL – Working Environment for Building and Construction prepared by the Sector Council on OSH in the building and construction industry.

Falls from heights when working on roofs, WEA Guidelines, 2014 (in Danish)
Falls from heights on construction sites, WEA Guidelines, 2014 (in Danish)
Manual: Working Environment for Building and Construction (BFA Bygge & Anlæg)

Any questions?

Contact Arbejdstilsynet
The Danish Working Environment Authority (WEA)

Phone hours
Monday - Thursday: 8 - 15
Friday: 8 - 14

+45 70 12 12 88
Press 9 for English

Last updated: 11-04-2024