Preventing Falls through Skylights

December 01 2019
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Skylights are among the most dangerous obstacles workers at heights face. Companies, which offer roof services, must teach their employees about the hidden dangers of skylights and provide sufficient safety equipment to prevent accidents.
Many workers assume that skylights are safe. However, this isn’t always the case. Even if you are working in new buildings that seem to be meeting the safety standards for “man-safe” skylights, you must be careful. Weather elements, such as UV light could damage the layers of skylight protection and cause the material to become brittle.
Falling through a skylight is just as dangerous as falling off the edge of the roof. However, when it comes to safety training, the roof edges get much more attention.
All contractors and property owners should pay special attention to skylights. It’s the responsibility of a property owner to keep the skylights in top shape to maintain their “man-safe” status. It’s up to the contractors to provide proper training and equipment to the employees to prevent injuries.
Sufficient protection against falls is required for all workers, who do their jobs on or next to fragile materials. Your employees must have proper protection, including guardrails, safety nets, and harnesses. Walking on the roof, even if there aren’t any skylights in sight, can’t be allowed without safety equipment.
Installing Skylight Protection
To ensure extra safety while working near skylights, contractors and property owners can invest in skylight protection coverings. They are installed on top of fragile skylights so workers can walk safely near them without the risk of falling.
This type of equipment can be used together with roof walkaways so in case someone falls sideways from a walkaway, he or she doesn’t break through the skylight.
Different types of skylight protection exist, such as guardrails and screens. Both protective solutions are easy to install. They nullify the danger of workers accidentally falling through the skylight.
Roof Lifeline Cable System
In some cases, roof workers have to do their jobs on the skylights themselves. In such a situation neither type of abovementioned skylight protection works. Excellent access to skylights for maintenance and/or replacement can be achieved by using a lifeline cable system.
This cable system can protect workers on the roof. It may take some time to install, but the system offers excellent protection throughout the height-access project.
Final Thoughts
The dangers of skylights are often underestimated. Meanwhile, hundreds of worker are injured due to the lack of safety measures while working with skylights. It’s important to use either skylight coverings or a cable system to ensure a high level of safety on the roof.

WHAT IS IPAF

The International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) promotes the safe and effective use of powered access equipment worldwide in the widest sense – through providing technical advice and information; through influencing and interpreting legislation and standards; and through safety initiatives and training programmes. IPAF is a not-for-profit organisation owned by its members, which include manufacturers, rental companies, distributors, contractors and users. IPAF members operate a majority of the MEWP rental fleet worldwide and manufacture about 85% of platforms on the market.
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