Your roof can be a dangerous place without the proper equipment in place for maintenance professionals. It’s no wonder roofers continue to be at the top of the most dangerous jobs list each year. In fact, the Washington Post just named roofers as the fifth deadliest job of 2013.
Roof walkways are an easy solution to protect employees, equipment, and the rooftop itself. And if you really need convincing, here are four reasons why you really ought to consider installing them as soon as possible:
1. Roof Safety Solutions
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roof fatalities accounted for one-third of fatal falls in construction from 1992–2009. Additionally, not all workers on roofs are professionals. You should ensure it’s safe for anyone, whether it’s maintenance workers hanging holiday lights or the cable provider accessing the roof. A roof walkway, when thoughtfully laid out, will provide a safe means of egress around and extend the life of your roof (and of the people working on it).
2. Reduced Liability
By making the roof safer, you are reducing the odds of injury and legal action against you. "Roof walkways can be an efficient solution for both protecting a roof surface and protecting an employee,” says John Braun, owner of Signature Safety. “OSHA's fall protection rules for work on a roof can be confusing, so the permanent rails on a roof walkway could eliminate that confusion, as long as the employee's work takes place from the walkway.”
According to a 2011 OSHA report, from 2005 to 2007, 38 states reported that falls from elevations cost insured roofers $54 million per year, about $106,000 per injured roofer. Engineers and architects should design roofs with walkways to protect workers and companies. “Most roofs are not designed with post-construction safety in mind,” says Braun. “Architects and engineers should start looking at the fact that roofs are all, at some point, working surfaces, not just weather protection."
3. Increased the Longevity of the Rooftop
If your roof isn’t safe, you may have trouble finding anyone to repair it. More and more contractors and roofing companies are discouraging workers from working on roofs without safety measures and fall protection. Why spend thousands of dollars on a great roof only to have it wear away from poor upkeep? Installing roof walkways keeps employees and heavy equipment from bearing weight on the surface of the roof membrane, further preventing roof damage. It reduces the excessive foot traffic that leads to a premature roof failure, as well as providing a single route around the roof that will keep the workers safe.
4. Increased Pipe and Equipment Access
Maintenance workers crawling up and over piping, having to move around and under ductwork, and using poorly built steps to get quickly around the roof can and will affect the life of your roof. Investing in roof walkways makes is easier for professionals to access your roof and finish the job at hand. If a pipe is easier and safer to find, the plumber will spend less time finding ways to get to it and more time actually fixing it.
With roof safety solutions being such a hot topic today, adding roof walkways with handrails on both sides, will ensure safety, protect your roof, and keep workers from accessing restricted areas on the roof. Stairs and crossovers can also be incorporated into the design to allow workers access up and over pipe and duct to easily access to equipment. This will also keep workers from stepping on pipe and duct, eventually breaking the insulation on them.