Working at a high altitude does not have to be dangerous. While many workplace accidents occur as a result of falls from great heights, a well-designed and well-maintained rooftop deck can help to decrease accidents and protect building maintenance employees. Here are some helpful hints for building and maintaining a safe and reliable rooftop walkway system.
1. Select your supplies with care.
Many rooftops are nothing more than thin substrates or membranes that protect the building from the elements. As a result, their weight capacity is limited. As a result, the material for your walkway should be relatively light and have a good strength-to-weight ratio. It should also be able to withstand the effects of all types of weather, especially UV exposure.
2. Determine the load-bearing capacity of the structure.
Rooftop walkways must be both light and strong enough to withstand foot activity as well as the weight of heavy appliances such as air conditioners. The load-bearing requirements of regulation BS EN 516:2006 must be met by any roof walkway system.
According to this standard, walkways must be tested with a load of 1.5 kN over a 100 mm sq area with a deflection of 15 mm or 1/100 of the span, whichever is less. After that, the load should be increased to 2.6Kn and held for one minute.
3. Make sure the drainage system is in good working order.
When slips and accidents happen on roofs, they can easily turn into falls from a great height. Pooling water can become a severe hazard because it is exposed to the elements and is rarely monitored. It is not only dangerous, but it can also damage the roof over time.
Drainage should be considered while designing pathways, whether through the use of gratings or the creation of gully channels that lead to the rest of the roof drainage system.
4. Stay away from wood.
Wood is a terrible choice of material, despite its numerous inherent qualities. This is because wood can become a severe slipping danger when wet. Consider non-slip options while designing your walkway. This can involve the use of spiky or tactile surfaces, as well as the installation of anti-slip treads on otherwise slick surfaces.
If not properly managed, wood can deteriorate and rot. Wooden walkways can deteriorate between inspections as a low-risk inspection area, putting personnel at risk of harm.
5. Make sure the fixings don’t do any damage to the roof.
One of the main reasons for installing a roof walkway is to protect fragile roofs. So be cautious when selecting a pathway fitting system. Fitting it is counterproductive if it destroys the roof, but it can also undermine a roof’s waterproof membrane.
A walkway should be able to clamp to the roof profile without piercing the sheeting in the ideal situation. This applies to both the path and any handrails that may be present. The railings on certain walkways are meant to be an integrated part of the walkway. This keeps the ceiling sheet from being pierced.
6. Create a sensible path.
Rooftop walkways aid in the creation of a clear and safe path for users. Walkways provide easy access up slopes and across pitched roofs, in addition to enabling access to everything on the roof. It also urges users to stay on the path, which is critical for maintaining the roof’s integrity.
Plan a path that gets consumers where they need to go as rapidly as feasible to successfully manage budgets. This also implies that no one will be on the roof any longer than is necessary. Stakeholders, such as maintenance staff, can provide useful information in this regard.
7. Carry out maintenance in a safe manner.
Accidents do happen, even if they are built to be dependable and strong. Maintaining a roof should be done safely. Never work alone, and only one person’s weight should be on a piece of the pathway at a time.