Working on a rooftop with skylights is a dangerous task, and nearly every safety professional is in agreement on this simple fact. However, on the jobsite, the hazards of skylights are often either ignored or unrecognized, resulting in numerous injuries and deaths every year.
Most skylights coverings are made of either some sort of plastic or fiberglass. While they may appear sturdy, these covers are only intended to stand up to the elements, not the impact of a falling human body. Far too many workers have fallen to their deaths through this kind of skylight covering, or even worse though an unguarded roof opening where a skylight has been removed.
What can I do about this?
According to Cal OSHA regulations, “Floor, roof and skylight openings shall be guarded by either temporary railings and toe-boards or by covers.” Federal OSHA requirements are similar. In addition, following the safety measures given here will increase worker safety around skylights.
- Ensure that all employees working near skylights have been trained to identify them, to work around them safely, and not to sit or step on them at any time. These instructions should be included in your fall protection program.
- Keep cages or other guarding systems around skylights any time work is being done nearby to prevent workers from falling through. Since workers may not be able to see clearly at times if they’re carrying materials or walking backwards, simply warning them of the hazards is not sufficient.
- Before each work day begins supervisors should survey the jobsite for fall hazards and provide fall protection equipment accordingly. They should also remind workers daily of the dangers at hand and the action needed to prevent injury.
Don’t ignore the dangers of working near skylights. Prevent further falls and accidents by implementing a fall protection plan and training your workers in good safety practices.
TC Safety Supply is here to assist you in your efforts to ensure worker safety. We are your one stop shop for fall protection equipment, including 3 styles of skylight safety systems. Feel free to contact our safety consultants with any questions you may have; we’re always happy to help!