Roof safety walkways: Why and when are they required?
Fall from a rooftop and only a miracle will save you.
When you need to gain access to a roof, you need a roof system and fall protection system. There are no two ways about it because—unfortunately—humans can’t fly, bounce, or be put back together again by all the king’s men like Humpty Dumpty.
Height safety regulations are not just a formality; the risks of non-compliance are very real. Working at heights is a high-risk activity and a leading cause of death and serious injury in Australia. There are significant repercussions for employers if a worker is injured or killed due to non-compliance with height safety regulations.
Walkway systems can protect you and your workers from potential falls. They help eliminate trip hazards and provide safe access to roof-mounted units and equipment. They can be installed over fragile and other high-fall-risk surfaces and require limited or zero penetrations to the roof.
Furthermore, height safety walkways are:
- Easy to fix to different roof profiles
- Virtually maintenance-free
- Quick to install
- Corrosion-resistant and waterproof
- Non-slip and multi-directional
- Compliant with AS1657-1992.
Remember, there are serious legal consequences should you choose to install incorrect or inadequate safety equipment. Always get a professional to mount your walkway system—call us at AHSS on 1300 850 121.
What types of walkway systems are there?
Height safety walkways are a versatile height safety solution. This means they vary in design according to the individual specifications of your roof, as well as the frequency of use for maintenance to units and equipment. Sayfa Group, our preferred supplier of height safety systems and products, has developed the following reference table.
According to their guidelines, for an incline of zero to 20 degrees, a 600 millimeters wide walkway should be mounted using the appropriate fixing method by a professional. Within this degree of incline, there are additional requirements that must be complied with:
- Inclines greater than 7 degrees – Walkways must be levelled when installed across the fall of the roof.
- Inclines greater than 10 degrees – Walkways installed along the incline of the roof require cleats. Cleat spacing to prevent foot slippage is dependent on the slope of the walkway.
- Inclines greater than 12 degrees – Walkways installed on roofs with this degree of incline require handrails to protect the operator from a potential fall.
What types of materials are used for walkway systems?
Walkway systems are usually made of aluminium and FRP (fibreglass). While there are galvanised steel plant walkway systems on the market, we at AHSS recommend aluminium due to its strength, durability, and marine grade alloy. The latter characteristic provides excellent corrosion resistance, which is important for longevity, as well as the low density and outstanding the thermal conductivity that is common with all aluminium alloys.
Although FRP has its advantages, such as being quick to install, we consider aluminium and its alloys to be among the most versatile engineering and construction materials—particularly for height safety walkways and fall prevention systems.
What else do I need to know?
Engineered for structural soundness and to preserve your roof’s waterproofing, roof walkway systems provide guaranteed slip and trip protection for you and your workers. Whatever your reason for needing to gain roof access (and the incline of the roof itself), height safety walkways can help you move from one point to another without danger.
They are maintenance-free, always ready for use, and built to last. Within the Australian hierarchy of controls, they are preferred by state workplace safety authorities over nearly all other types of fall prevention including roof anchor points, static lines, and step ladders. No matter what your roof type, there’s a walkway system to suit it.
Why choose AHSS?
Falls from height are a major cause of death and injury when working on roofs. At Australian Height Safety Standards, we have been recommending and installing height protection and fall prevention systems for over 25 years.
Roof walkway systems should only ever be installed by qualified, experienced, and licensed professionals. Our team of qualified technicians can come to your premises to thoroughly assess and address your needs. Every team member is a qualified roof plumber, so we know how to ensure that your roof walkway system is 100 per cent work-safe compliant. We can also recommend the most cost-effective and appropriate solution for you.
As well as sorting out your height safety walkways, we supply and install any additional systems that may be required, such as guardrails if your roof falls at a particular incline, for example. In addition, we allow our clients to add and adjust components at any stage based on their budget and safety requirements.