I’ve been in business for more than 40 years now and Anne has been along this journey with me every step of the way. Just because most people think I’m the front of the business, that doesn’t mean hasn’t been a part of it or had a say (sometimes quite loudly!) along the way.
Stop for a second… you may be thinking that Gutter-Vac is the business for you. You can’t wait to get started. Sure we work at heights, but that doesn’t worry you at all…. But have you asked your partner?
It is very common in Gutter-Vac that one person of a two person relationship will be a bit ‘nervous’ about working on a roof or their partner working on a roof. Have you asked your partner yet?
We take safety very seriously. I have always said that I want our franchisees to go out and do a great days work, make a living for themselves and their family, but I also want to see them go home each night, SAFELY, to their family.
For this reason, we have a couple of unique things in Gutter-Vac.
Years ago, I set up Ballantyne Safety as a sister company to Gutter-Vac to provide the training and equipment needed for the Gutter-Vac franchisees. I invented and created equipment that can be used on all different roof types that was removable so that even if the franchisees turned up to a normal roof (house or commercial building) that had no safety measures in place or fixed anchor points already installed, a franchisee could easily add their own safety anchors to attach to so that they could remain safe on any roof AND also cause no damage to the property they were on.
Did you know that most falls actually occur off a ladder rather than the roof? For this reason we also use specialised equipment to secure a ladder to access the roof to minimise any potential safety issues.
Our franchisees all have specialised harnesses and rope systems to work safely on a roof. They also provide these to all of their employees and are audited regularly.
The biggest thing with roof safety is knowledge. That’s why we go out of our way to complete full safety training with an RTO accredited course. It actually makes up nearly the whole first day of our initial franchise training.
Did you know that as part of the RTO accredited course ‘Working at Heights’ that you don’t actually have to do any practical training to be able to get your working at heights certificate. To me that is simply madness, so we go above and beyond (excuse the pun!). We get out of the classroom and do full practical training from how to wear your harness correctly, how to secure your ladder plus good ladder technique (yes, that’s a thing) and then also what to do on the roof using lots of different scenarios.
What I want you to note here is that our franchisees should NEVER fall off the roof if they are wearing their harness and using the correct techniques. We use a safety system called a ‘fall restraint’ technique which means that if the franchisee ever fell, it would be that they would fall over ON the roof, but never OFF the roof.
That being said, I also make every one of our franchisees ‘hang’ in their harness off the roof and I teach them how to rescue themselves if they did every fall off the roof. If they have never practised this scenario, then if it actually happened, they were injured or adrenalin was flowing, they wouldn’t be able to rescue themselves, but if they did, then they’d know what to do.
For this reason – that we do practical training, not just theoretical, plus we have the specialised equipment to work on any roof safely – I am contracted by other companies (and some big names in their too) to train their staff to work on a roof safely.
Our franchisees also have access to an online training of exactly what I train them to do, to be able to pass this information onto their staff as well so that ALL of their staff can secure their working at heights certificate as well.
Safety is important to us.
In 20 years at Gutter-Vac, we have only ever had two serious falls from a roof. One was a staff member that broke their wrist and the other was a franchisee that unfortunately did injure their back. My challenge with both of these falls…. Neither was using their safety equipment! If you are not wearing your harness, not using your safety gear, then what can we do.
So if your partner is nervous about you working on a roof, there are a couple of things I’d recommend….
- Get them to read this blog
- Talk to our Franchise Development Manager
- We also have videos on this topic
- Get them to talk to other franchisees
- You have to promise them you will wear your harness, use safety gear and follow our training to the tee every time you go onto a roof!
We also have a system for cleaning gutters from the ground because we also train you what roofs are too unsafe to work on (even with safety gear) and situations where you should be using the ground workers kit!
Safety is important to us, because we want you to go out and do a good days work, make a living, but also come home to your family each night… safely.