Published: Jan 2003
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To obtain information needed to prevent falls from the pitched roofs of wooden houses, the slide characteristics of roofing materials were evaluated using a clothed dummy and various footwear on an experimental, adjustable pitched roof. To determine sliding properties of worker's clothing and footwear, five roofing materials, viz., sheet metal, ceramic tile, slate shingle, bitumen felt, and plywood were tested. Slide characteristics of three types of footwear: sneakers, safety shoes and Japanese construction worker's footwear were tested. The most slippery roofing was sheet metal in wet conditions. Sheet metal and plywood roofing surfaces showed remarkably large reductions in the sliding-friction coefficient when they became wet. Thus, should it rain while working on a roof, the unexpected reduction of friction can trigger roof-fall accidents, especially on sheet-metal and plywood surfaces. The frictional properties of clothing on sheet metal and plywood in dry conditions are much lower than that of footwear. That implies that there is a great possibility of sliding down even a gently-pitched roof in dry conditions if a worker's body weight cannot be supported at the shoe soles, typically because of a loss of balance.
slip and fall, roof safety, roof, footwear, roofing material, slip resistance
Head of Research Division of Construction Safety, National Institute of Industrial Safety, Tokyo,