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Working safely on fragile roofs

Working safely on fragile roofs

Falls through fragile roof surfaces are one of biggest causes of serious injuries. Deaths caused by falls through fragile surfaces occur mainly to those who carry out small, short-term maintenance and cleaning jobs. Kee Safety offers a range of safety systems specifically designed for working on fragile roofs.

Fragile roofs

A roof is considered fragile if it is unable to take the weight of a person stepping onto it. Roofs can become fragile over time due to natural wear and tear, or they might have been fragile from the start. Fragile roofs are typically found on industrial buildings, e.g. factories and warehouses.

Access onto a fragile roof is often required for maintenance, inspection, cleaning or general repairs. Effective precautions must be taken for all work on or near fragile surfaces, no matter how short the duration. Accidents can be avoided as long as suitable equipment is used and those carrying out the work are provided with adequate information, training and supervision.

Working on fragile roofs

The principles of working on fragile surfaces are exactly the same as any other form of work at height. You need to apply the hierarchy of control to ensure that the work can be carried out safely.

The preferred option is to avoid working at height, but this isn’t always possible. If access onto the fragile roof cannot be avoided, you need to conduct a thorough Risk Assessment and look at how the area can be accessed safely, and then put into place measures that can alleviate the distance and consequences of a potential fall. 

This can be done in a number of ways, such as using safety systems specifically designed for working on fragile roofs. Kee Safety offers a range of non-penetrative, temporary safety systems for working on fragile roofs.

Safety systems for working on fragile roofs


BOARD-WALK is a lightweight aluminium walkway which allows access from eaves to ridge whilst spreading the load on support battens. The system provides the user with a safe working position for skin maintenance, inspection, cleaning or re-sealing work on fragile roofs. BOARD-WALK can be used both vertically and horizontally and each 4m section can be easily linked to form a longer system.

HATCH BOARD-WALK allows users to bridge over a fragile valley and to access the valley. The system comprise 2m sections made from high grade aluminium staging which can be easiliy lifted to gain access to the valley for regular maintenance.



For roofs with valley gutters, we provide the VALLEY-WALK system, a mobile walking frame for one or two persons, designed to aid access along valley gutters and provide mobile roof cover. The cushioned aluminium mesh outriggers can also carry light payloads.





ROOF-WALK, the fully guarded rolling work platform, is our most comprehensive fragile roof solution. The platform is available in both 4.6m and 2.5m, and the twin 4m track sections can be linked together to cover as much area as you need.



To learn more about Kee Safety’s systems designed for working on fragile roofs, please watch the BOARD-WALK video.

Are you interested in our safety systems for fragile roofs? Get in touch