June 14, 2013

Skylight Fall Protection: A Solution to a Real Hazard

Rooftop skylights are an often overlooked rooftop hazard due to their false sense of security. Many workers don’t realize the danger of rooftop skylights as they can be made out of plastic or glass. An accidental fall onto a skylight cover can end in disaster if it is not made to withstand the load of a person falling.

Often workers are on the roof for maintenance or inspection of rooftops and may carry heavy objects, increasing the danger when there are no guardrails surrounding a skylight to protect a worker. Additionally, while there may be a skylight cover, these are generally not made to hold the weight of an object or person if someone trips.

While the rooftop is often unseen, and you may not want to spend a lot of extra money, the importance of ensuring a safe environment is paramount for anyone attached to your business.

Recently, an employer was fined $100,000 for violating the Health and Safety Act after a worker fell through a skylight and received fatal injuries. The worker tripped on the skylight flashing and fell approximately 18 feet to the concrete floor below. There were no permanent or portable fall protection systems in place and no skylight guards. Sadly, this was a simple accident that should have never happened.

In 2013, the Ontario Ministry of Labour issued a Hazard Alert titled Workers Falling Through Skylights. This important document discusses why workers may be on roofs, a summary of workers falling through skylights, the reasons skylights are a hazard, the controls that must be in place, and the OSHA Legislative requirements relating to skylight protection.

Several solutions to protect your workers around skylights include replacing them with new rated skylights, installing skylight protection screens over the skylight, or installing a portable fall protection system such as the Safety Rail 2000. Another solution W.S. Safety offers is the Bluewater Skylight Defender, a skylight cover that offers excellent protection.

Due to the different variations in size, shape, and construction material, 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, security, and the peace of mind that comes with a workplace free of hazards.

Contact us today to see how we can find out the best solution for your unique workplace. W.S. Safety has many skylight cover options and solutions.

Safety Rail 2000 Skylight Guardrail (8) (Medium)
Safety Rail 2000 Skylight Guardrail (1) (Medium)
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