In previous articles we have looked at the importance of safe roof access in the autumn and winter months, with safety ladders to prevent injury in the event that your foot slips on a rung in wet conditions.
Roof edge protection enhances this by preventing falls from the sides of a building, but while on the roof surface itself, walkovers add a crucial extra layer of protection.
Nearly every roof presents its own challenges, whether they are areas of weakness, roof lights that cannot take the weight of a person, exterior pipework and cable trays, or pitched and uneven roofs.
Walkovers act as demarcation systems to show the safe route, as well as levelling out the route to a flat gantry, with steps to climb any slopes or uneven areas.
During the wetter autumn months, this can be crucial, not only by providing a clearly signalled safe route, but also by allowing rainwater to drain away from the gantry so it holds less surface water than the roof itself.
These benefits extend into the winter months, when surface water can freeze over, creating dangerous patches of ice on many roofs.
A well drained walkover removes this risk, with a rugged surface designed to offer the necessary level of grip, and the steps mean anyone working on the roof is not left to scale an icy slope when moving around.
The wetter and colder months of the year naturally pose the greatest hazards to site safety, and using safety ladders alone is a good start, but will not protect individuals once they reach the roof level.
Instead, safety ladders should be combined with roof edge protection to provide safe access to elevated positions with integrated protection against falling over the roof edge.
But for moving around on the roof surface itself, walkovers are an essential addition, with the option to also use man anchors to tether individuals to a safe point on the roof, protecting them against falls either over the edge, or through a roof light or fragile area.