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This Best Practice Guidelines for Working on Roofs is published by the Ministry of
Business, Innovation and Employment and has been prepared in association with the Roofing Association of New Zealand (RANZ). The purpose of these guidelines is to provide practical guidance to employers, contractors, employees, and all others engaged in work associated with working on roofs. It offers examples on how duty holders can meet their obligations under the Health and Safety in Employment Act 1992 and its associated regulations. Accordingly, compliance with these best practice guidelines is recommended.

A fall from height is the most serious hazard associated with roof work.

Preventing falls from roofs is a priority for the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The Ministry expects principals, employers, and contractors with staff working on roofs to actively manage any potential for falls.

Investigations by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment into falls while working at height show:

  • more than 50 percent of falls are from less than three metres
  • most of these falls are from ladders and roofs
  • the cost of these falls is estimated to be $24 million a year —  to say nothing of the human cost as a result of these falls.

More injuries happen on residential building sites than any other workplace in the construction sector, and of falls experienced by roofers:

  • 20 percent were over three metres in height.
  • 40 percent were from permanent structures such as roofs.

In December 2011 the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment initiated a targeted programme to address the issue through the Preventing Falls from Height Project. These guidelines support this project and give all who are involved with working on roofs a clear direction on how to manage the work in a way that will bring down the death and injury toll.


  • Do the nets have serial number, test meshes and unique ID label?                    
  • Is the net “in  test” i.e. has it been tested and certified to confirm compliance?
  • Are the nets/border ropes/tie ropes free from damage?
  • Are the brackets free from damage?
  • Are screws in good condition?
  • Do not over drive screws when installing brackets.                               
  • Are there any  repairs present in the nets?        
  • Have repairs been carried out correctly?
  • Has each repair been tagged correctly? 
  • Are the walls/support points suitable ?
  • Are there sufficient bracings @2.5m centres max?       
  • Are the braces kept to a minimum and wherever possible kept clear of “safe zone”?  
  • Are ceiling  battens in place? If so do not install nets
  • Have nets been installed as close as possible to the working level?                 
  • Are tie spacings for nets at no more than 2.0m centres?
  • Is the net tied in every corner of each room?                              
  • Are there any gaps greater than 100mm?                                                           
  • Is there sufficient clearance to allow for net deflection: Rule of thumb: net deflects 1/2 of shortest span. Therefore in house construction our rule is that no span can be greater than 3m. If minimum span greater than 3m, must install additional cross ropes. If not, advise Client of any issues
  • Nets overlapped minimum of 2m or correctly laced?                               
  • Has a Handover Certificate been provided?
  • Has the Handover Certificate been completed correctly?
  • Are there any areas that have not been netted and need further measures taken?
  • Are any unprotected areas clearly identified on the Handover Certificate?
  • Is the Client aware of recovery procedures – has document been included with Handover Certificate?
  • Is Client aware of inspection requirements  – has document been included with Handover Certificate?
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