Skylights are an often overlooked hazard in both the construction and general industry sectors. Many times individuals only relate to a leading edge as a “fall hazard”; but, the fact remains that each year there continues to be falls through unprotected skylights. Whether we are discussing roofing safety, the safety of our maintenance workers or anyone else that may access our roofs, we need to make sure all hazards are addressed.
Falls through skylights are easily preventable. The first step is to identify whether there are skylights present on the roof. Flush mount skylights may be improperly protected or not protected at all. They may have a coating or spray foam application on top of the skylights making them difficult to identify on the roof. Domed skylights may have internal cages that do not meet applicable standards or have the capability to support twice the expected load. A thorough inspection by a trained professional will help identify these areas of concern. If you are unsure or unable to fully inspect these areas, they should always be treated as a fall hazard.
There are multiple options available to building owners to eliminate these hazards, protect their associates and comply with OSHA Regulations. Whether it is installing a permanent screen/cage, guardrail or warning line system, there is an option to fit each building’s individual needs. Not only are there cost effective solutions for protecting and eliminating these hazards; but, more importantly, it is the responsible thing to do.
Leigh Hunsberger, Safety Director, King of Prussia, PA