As of next month, contractors will no longer have the option of using a cut-off saw to dry cut valley tiles.
In a bid to reduce the risks from silica dust, industry has supported changes to working methods which mean that, should a cut-off saw be used for cutting valley tiles, water suppression as well as the correct RPE will also be expected, the HSE said. This is in line with the controls currently in use for cutting tiles in other sections of the roof and not a change in the law.
Contractors do have the option of using other methods as long as they can demonstrate these are equally as effective at controlling the silica risk.
More information about this can be found on the National Federation of Roofing Contractors (NFRC) website.
The new guidance results from recent work by the HSE to monitor the exposure of roofers to silica dust. This has shown that levels of silica dust created when dry cutting valley tiles are much higher than published safety limits. This means that a high standard of control is needed.
Recent HSE research has estimated that silica dust may be responsible for the deaths of over 600 people each year who have worked in construction.