5 quick thoughts on safe roof access.

Admit it, you don’t go there often!

The roof that is. Usually it is out of sight and out of mind. It is not until there is a problem or servicemen need to get access to plant items that you realise the importance of safe access.

When equipment such as air conditioners fail, it is imperative to be able to get tradesmen up there quickly and safely. This is when a well-designed service access system is essential.

When designing or choosing the placement of walkways, here are five things to consider:

1 - Consider the workers
Think of your service personnel. These guys spend many hours on the roof and will often have to get up and down many times and usually laden with heavy equipment. They need to be able to negotiate the access while carrying this equipment. Easy access will help them work more efficiently and get the job done quicker. Safetyline systems can be cumbersome and slow.

2 - Heavy loads
Tools and heavy equipment are often required. Tradesmen weighed down with gear will quickly damage your roof if proper load bearing walkways are not installed. These should be loaded back to the purlins so that the roof is not damaged and the access is safe.

3 - Location location
Consider the placement of the walkways. Make sure they are placed in the best locations so they are actually used. Often we see ‘service tracks’ where service personnel have taken the shortest route. This is often in the form of damage to your roof. We have seen new roofs buckled with boot prints.

4 - Getting up there Make sure the access from ground level to your walkway is practical.
Hauling equipment or gear up ladders is both dangerous and time-consuming. Stairs, while initially costing more, are a good investment long term and will result in better servicing of your roof top equipment. If roof hatches are required, allow sufficient room for drop down stairs and ascension with equipment.

5 - Know the rules
Many roof access walkways are non-compliment due to poor planning, incorrect design and placement. When looking to install a walkway,

  • Know where the sub-structures or purlins are located. 
  • Consider the pitch of the roof -  if it is over 7 degrees, walkways need to be levelled to be compliant. 
  • Handrails must be provided if you are within 2m of a roof edge. 
  • This also applies to ladders access - you must provide handrails each side for a distance of 2m from fall hazard. 
  • Finally - one point that is often missed - a walkway must be designed to 2.5kpa loadings, as per AS1657 - 2013 


Need help? Drop us a line if you need a free quote, advice on planning or more information on our products.


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