Rooftop skylights are an often overlooked rooftop hazard due to the false sense of security they provide. The problem arises when personnel have to access the roof for maintenance or inspection purposes and may happen to travel unsafely near or around the skylights.The vast majority of skylights currently installed on buildings are not designed to withstand the loadings applied if a person was to fall on the skylight. There are a number of solutions to protect the skylight including replacing them with new rated skylights, installing sky protection screens over the skylight, or installing a portable fall protection system such as the Safety Rail 2000 around the skylight.
To illustrate, an employer was recently fined $100,000 for a violation of the Health and Safety Act after a worker received fatal injuries after falling through a skylight. The worker tripped on a skylight and fell approximately 18' to the concrete floor below. There were no permanent or portable fall protection systems in place, and no skylight guard.
Also, the Ontario Ministry of Labour recently issued a Hazard Alert titled Workers Falling Through Skylights. This important document discusses the reasons workers may be on roofs, a brief summary of workers falling through skylights, the reason skylights are a hazard, the controls that should be put in place, and the Legislative requirements relating to workplace safety.
Due to the different variations of size, shape, and construction we have found the most flexible option to provide fall protection around skylights is the Safety Rail 2000. With different stock lengths of 5', 7.5', and 10' to choose from, we can quickly and easily protect workers with this portable fall protection system. However, using skylight fall protection screens or skylight guards can also provide your workers with safety and security and provide you with the peace of mind that comes with a workplace free of hazards.