With proper installation, basic safety equipment and a system that limits access to your building’s roof, skylights and daylighting systems can be a very safe addition to your workplace.
A variety of standards exist to make sure skylights are safe and dependable. These include the OSHA fall protection standards for skylights, which outline the level of load that a skylight should be able to safely tolerate without breaking.
While the OSHA standards aren’t ideal – they should, for example, measure impact force instead of total load to make people even safer – they provide a good outline for improving safety for people that work on the roof of your building.
Beyond OSHA, it’s important to establish standards to make sure your skylights are never a safety risk, whether to people inside your building or people working on the roof of your building.
In this guide, we’ll share three tips that you can use to make your daylighting system even safer for employees, repair workers, service people and other individuals that work within your building.
Establish rules for accessing your building’s roof
Many skylight accidents, particularly slips and falls, occur because people simply are not aware of the location of skylights on a building’s ceiling. Not knowing where the skylight is, they misstep and risk potentially falling through the skylight.
While this is far less of a problem with OSHA skylights, the possibility of someone on the roof of your building stepping in the wrong location and putting the full amount of force they generate onto a skylight is a serious danger.
Because of this, it’s important to establish basic safety principles that restrict access to the roof of your building only to people that are aware of its layout and capable of making sure they never step on skylights or other potential hazards.
Make sure your skylights are OSHA compliant
The OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration – skylight fall protection standards may have some deficiencies, such as the use of load instead of force when measuring skylight strength – but they’re a good minimum safety standard.
If you’re considering installing skylights on the roof of your building or you need to replace outdated skylights with newer systems, make sure the skylights all comply with the OSHA fall protection standards.
You can learn more about the OSHA fall protection standards in our detailed guide to skylight fall protection. While the standards aren’t perfect, they offer an effective minimum standard that you should apply to any potential skylights.
Prevent weather from reducing visibility on your roof
Weather can often become a safety hazards, particularly when it reduces visibility on the roof of your building. Heavy snow can often cover your building’s skylights and make it difficult for workers on the roof to identify them.
This significantly increases the risk of someone stepping on a skylight or slipping and falling onto a roof skylight while working. While fall protection skylights are strong enough to withstand this impact, it can still produce injuries.
During periods of extreme weather such as heavy snow, it’s important that anyone that accesses your building’s roof is completely aware of the location of skylights and safe against the risk of slipping and falling or losing balance due to weather.
Is your building as safe as it could be?
Making sure you roof is safe is just one element of building safety, but it remains one of the most important. Is your building’s roof a safe place for individuals or are there safety risks that could result in slips, falls and potentially serious injuries?