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Safe Roof Series (Part 6): Skylight Accidents and Prevention

Skylight1In Safe Roof Series (Part 5): Custom Roof Hatch Railings, we discussed some of the features of a non-standard system. This week we answer a perplexing question...

Who Falls Through Skylights?
According to OSHA statistics, in 2005, there were 767 falls resulting in death and 79,310 falls to a lower level causing serious injury. Many of these falls were through skylights. Your first reaction is to wonder how can anybody fall through a skylight? Our partners at Safety Rail Source offer the explanation.

About Skylight Material
Most skylights are made of molded plastic or fiberglass panels. When first made, these materials withstand substantial impact such as a falling body. However, once installed the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays beat down on the skylight and over time and change the chemical makeup of the plastic. The skylight becomes brittle and can no longer withstand an impact. This sets the stage for skylight tragedies.

How do These Accidents Happen?
The answer is simple, either a person sits on the skylight, slips and falls into it or walks on it. You may now ask how someone can walk on a skylight? Well, if you have been on a roof that has either corrugated or standing seam skylights, you know that these are flat, translucent panels that actually look like patches in the roof. Therein lays the danger. You should be able to walk on a roof patch so you do and down you go. These flat type skylights are particularly dangerous when the roof is snow covered; they can’t be seen at all.

How Centimark Can Help Prevent Skylight Accidents
Our partners at Safety Rail Source design and manufacture OSHA compliant skylight screens for all types of skylights including domed, corrugated, standing seam and custom types. They can be purchased with galvanized or stainless steel screening. In most models, the attachment is engineered not to penetrate the roofing membrane. Where the skylight is too large for a screen, a stand-alone railing system is used.

Click here to learn more about CentiMark’s Safety Program:
Please watch for our continuing Safe Roof Series to learn more about OSHA requirements, rooftop fall protection products and the best product options to keep your roof safe.



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