“Have you nearly finish…oh, so you have!”

Finishing off the proofing for a solar array.

In Wokingham for some solar panel proofing. A large stack of proofing mesh strips, some specialist clips, safety gear and an experienced proofer – oh, and glorious weather! It all comes together to give us a PV array that’ll be pigeon-safe for years to come and a job that was a delight to do.

On a low-angled roof like this, it’s easy to be fooled into thinking it’s safer because there’s little risk of slipping down the tiles but the reality is very different. Granted, it’s certainly easier to work on a gentle slope because it’s more comfortable (a relative term, believe me!) but the hazards are just as real so the first thing Pestend do for any job like this is to figure out the safety angle: how best to secure the static lines that the high-level guys will rely on for their security? Once we have that planned out and everyone is happy with the proposal, the ground-worker ties the anchors and gets the safety lines in place. These are then checked by the high level worker and harnesses get the reverse treatment: first the wearer confirms it’s secure then the non-climber double checks their work. Once we’re all confident that we’ve minimised the risks then we can focus on getting the panels ‘proofed’.

In some cases, material is shuttled-up to the high level team with a haul line, tied off to a suitable point. However, for a gentle sloping roof like this one with such easy access, once the mesh had been cut to the exact length on the ground we found it was easier to scale a ladder and simply hand the sections over. Two-way radios also help: the ground operator can have everything ready that much more easily, be it an unusual cut or shape for the mesh, a particular variation of attachment clip – or simply the timely delivery of some refreshment!