Worker Falls Through Skylight Alert

06 / 14 / 2013 | Safety Articles | Ryan Michels

Alert: Worker Falls Through Skylight

Issued: November 2000

Content last reviewed: January 2012

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Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSHA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE SEE FULL DISCLAIMER.

Hazard Summary

A worker, repairing the curbing around skylights on the roof of an industrial building, fell through the Plexiglas skylight and sustained fatal injuries. The accident occurred in July 1999.

The Ministry of Labour’s (MOL) investigation found that when the worker completed the repairs, he went to the edge of the roof to retrieve a ladder. The worker was walking backwards, dragging the ladder, when he fell through the skylight.

Recommended Precautions

  • The MOL recommends that temporary barriers or guardrails be placed around skylights when workers are working on the roof.
  • The MOL recommends obtaining information from the building owner or a Professional Engineer about whether or not the skylight is designed to support the weight of one or more people.
  • Owners of buildings with skylights, and employers of workers who do maintenance or construction on these roofs, must provide the workers with information, instruction and supervision relating to associated hazards as required by section 25(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • Section 26 of Ontario Regulation 213/91 (Regulation for Construction Projects) requires that an opening in a roof to which a worker has access be protected by a guardrail or covered with securely fastened planks. This applies to situations where the skylight has been removed to conduct built-up roof repairs or prior to the skylight being installed on new construction.

About the author

Ryan Michels Ryan has been involved in the design and installation of custom fall protection systems with W.S. Safety Technologies since 2005. Ryan is a specialist in the different types of products, applications, and regulatory codes governing proper design and use of fall protection systems.

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