Six considerations for industrial overhead walkway design
Overhead walkways are commonplace on industrial sites. They're a great way to maximise the space available to you by providing an accessible route for both workers and materials to get around. However, as with anything involving height, there is an element of risk. These considerations will help minimise that risk, and allow you to get the most out of your industrial overhead walkway design.
At the most basic of starting points you need to make sure that all walkways are compliant with Australian standards. The AS 1657 is used in health and safety best practice across Australia, and makes clear what is expected when it comes to the design, construction and installation of fixed platforms, walkways, stairways and ladders on industrial sites.
This standard is updated and added to, so you need to stay on top of changes to ensure all aspects of your site still comply with what's expected.
Being able to keep your feet is particularly important when working at height, so overhead walkways should feature tread that prevents slips and falls. Meshstore is proud to suggest its Gripspan plank walkway, which comes with three different tread options to suit your personal preference.
The standard Gripspan diamond tread, the slotted tread and the rounded Shurgrip pattern have all been produced to provide superior grip, and these walkways are applicable anywhere where the dangers of working at height mean that extra precaution is advisable.
These walkways all come ready to go, and don't require the application of extra coating or further working to help them prevent common on-site accidents.
3. Handrails and grab bars
Half of the workers involved in the most serious falls between 2003 and 2015 were working at a height of 3 metres or less, according to statistics from Safe Work Australia. Handrails and grab bars are an excellent way to provide another level of safety for staff working on overhead walkways.
The Monowills Link from Webforge is a modular handrail made from galvanised steel with stanchions, pipes and links that have a tensile strength exceeding 350 MPa. This means they can take the strain from heavy loads, so you don't have to worry that they'll fail you at the moments when safety matters most.
The Monowills modular handrail can also come with pre-made infill panels, which boost its safety credentials even further.
On external sites, functioning and efficient drainage is paramount for overhead walkways. The build up of mud, rainwater and other detritus which occurs naturally on industrial sites can make access routes slippery and dangerous, and will also slow the rate at which people and materials are able to move.
This is why all Meshstore's walkway products are designed to allow liquids to pass through, making for effective drainage and reducing the risk of slips.
However, these walkways are still compliant with the 15mm ball test, part of the AS 1657. This stipulates that any flooring under which people are able to pass must be designed to stop small objects (up to the size of a 15mm ball) from passing through and causing injury to those walking below.
5. Strength and endurance
Of course, one of the most important considerations for industrial overhead walkways is whether they're capable of bearing the loads that will be placed upon them. You also want your walkway to last the entire span of your project, so low maintenance is another important factor.
We've already discussed the strength of Monowills galvanised steel handrails, and whilst steel is certainly a great option for dependable, endurable walkways, aluminium is another firm contender. The added advantage of both of these metals is that they are non-porous, meaning that they're less susceptible to the bacteria which can cause degradation problems further down the road with other materials.
6. Ease of installation
On industrial sites there is the ever-present pressure of deadlines. If you're installing overhead walkways, you're doing so to make things run more smoothly, so you don't it want to take forever to put it in place.
There are a number of things that will speed up the installation process:
- The materials used – lightweight metals are easier to transport, and therefore easier to install. Choose a walkway made from a metal that isn't going to take a great deal of time and manpower to put into place.
- Adjustable parts – industrial sites are ever-changing, so you want the components of your walkway to be adaptable for use in different areas.
With years of experience in supplying to the industrial sector, Meshstore knows how important it is that the products you choose are the right fit for your site. If you're ready to start designing your overhead walkway, jump into our online store to find all the products you'll need.