Manufacturer and supplier of roof products and accessories for the metal building industry since 1964

5 Important Tips for Designing Roof Walkways

January 17th, 2023 | Eric McClung

The best way to ensure a roof walkway is functional and safe is to consider a variety of factors before the final design is established and the installation is performed. At R&S Roof Products, we offer the GrateSafe® Metal Roof Walkway system that enables safe and efficient access to equipment on building roofs and prevents roof damage.

Below are some tips for the design of your roof walkway:

1. Choose Strong Materials

Walkways should not be made with material that is too fragile, since they must be able to bear foot traffic and potentially other heavy loads over several years of service. So, it is best to choose strong load-bearing materials such as galvanized steel or certain aluminum alloys.

2. Design an Efficient Route

Roof walkway systems should be designed to define a safe, clear path for maintenance, inspection, and repair professionals. They should grant easy access to rooftop equipment while keeping users on the path that keeps them safe and maintains the integrity of the roof. The walkway route design should allow for access to parts of the roof most visited as quickly as possible, minimizing the time people need to spend on the roof. The walkway should be a minimum of 24” wide. 36” wide is helpful if service workers will have tools or other bulky items, especially when handrail is included in the design.

3. Provide an Anti-Slip Surface

An anti-slip surface, whether serrated or ribbed, helps prevent slipping on walkways. It is also important to ensure water drains from walkways to prevent slippery conditions. R&S planks are designed to prevent any accumulation of water on the walking surface. Also, consider a pitch-corrected surface on roofs with gradients greater than 5 degrees.

4. Add Handrails Where Required

Workers benefit immeasurably from added fall protection with the addition of handrails along walkway edges. These handrails are particularly helpful around roof pitches, narrow areas, and on surfaces with gradients greater than 10 degrees.

5. Design Per OSHA Requirements

The standards set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are in place for an important reason. They help protect human life and are based on extensive consideration and experience. These standards should always be followed when designing and installing roof walkways, so workers are never put at unnecessary risk. Relevant resources include OSHA – Fall protection systems criteria and practices: 1926.205(b). (use hyperlink:

To learn about the roof walkway systems we offer at R&S Roof Products, call us today at 800.423.1619 or submit a contact form.


Featured: GrateSafe® Roof Walk for Metal Buildings