Walkovers are an important way to protect maintenance workers who need access to elevated positions – particularly where there are known weak parts of the roof, or trip hazards on its surface – but could also help to tackle one of the major causes of serious injuries and fatalities in the construction sector.
Every year, a high number of incidents involve individuals working on property refurbishment projects, representing a large percentage of the already high number of construction-related injuries and fatalities.
According to the HSE, many of these incidents occur due to individuals falling through fragile surfaces – something walkovers can naturally help to avoid.
This is not just a concern for large or particularly tall buildings – a fall from height on any building can have severe consequences, and the HSE is running a campaign, Working Well Together, to raise awareness of the dangers faced in the construction industry and how to avoid them.
Isabelle Martin, principal construction inspector for the HSE in Scotland, said: “Construction continues to be one of the most dangerous industries. Small sites account for the largest proportion of work-related deaths, with high levels of ill health and injuries each year.
“Over half of all reportable injuries occur during refurbishment work with a high number of deaths following falls through fragile surfaces every year.”
There is no reason why any fall from height should be viewed as unavoidable, with safety ladders and walkovers to provide safe access to elevated positions even where parts of the roof are weaker than others.
Edge protection in the form of roof rails can help to prevent falls over the roof edge too, while man anchors secure workers to a safe anchor point on the roof, keeping them within a safe working area and providing a means of fall arrest in case an incident should occur.