The edges of a roof are not the only areas where the danger of falling is present. In this post, we’ll discuss another common fall hazard that should be considered when work is done on a flat roof.
Falling through a skylight
For many, the danger of falling through a skylight is less obvious than the danger of falling off the roof edge. But it is with good reason that in many countries, lawmakers look at roof lights as holes in the roof and expect building owners to safeguard them as such.
Skylights are often wrongfully considered to be safe. Whether it concerns a plastic dome or a skylight made of glass: it’s very hard to tell whether a skylight is able to carry a load. Therefore, building owners will have to rely on common sense in many situations. In other words: they’ll have to assume skylights are unsafe, unless they are able to prove otherwise.
Falling through a skylight will have serious consequences, especially because skylights are commonly installed in the roofs or spaces with a high ceiling, such as warehouses or factory halls.
Building owners should know that fall hazards caused by skylights are real and often underestimated, and that it is their responsibility to protect the people working near skylights.
It is by no means safe for a worker to be in the vicinity of a fall-through hazard, without being protected against falling. Of course, the safety of the people underneath the roof is at risk as well.
So what can be done to prevent workers from falling through a skylight?
First of all, it’s possible to place a certain type of cover over the skylight, such as the Kee Cover. This protective screen is attached on a roof and forms an overlaying panel that prevent workers falling through. Off course all individual skylights on the roof will have to be covered. Skylights come in many different forms, so covering them may not always be an option.
Often, freestanding guardrails are used to prevent workers from coming near a skylight. This is a simple fall protection measure that can be used for skylights of all shapes and sizes. Guardrails can also be ‘domed’ around one or multiple skylights, securing all of them at the same time. Especially on roofs with a large number of skylights, this may be a cost-effective solution.