How to Prevent Dangerous Falls Through Skylights
Falling through a skylight is becoming a topic of concern and needs to be addressed accordingly. The consequences of the falls are usually severe, probably because skylights are less obvious and are mostly located on the roof. Most workers and building owners often tend to assume the skylights are safe, which is a false sense of security. Skylights are mere plastic or glass coverings that can easily break and a fall may be inevitable. There are different solutions that you can apply on your roof to prevent skylight falls and injuries. Here are some of the most effective:
1. Use Skylight Screens
It’s essential that you cover every single skylight on your roof using an effective form of cover. Skylight screens are one of the most cost-effective methods of preventing skylight falls. The screens, which cover the top part of the skylights, work by preventing the victim from coming into contact with the skylight, which could otherwise lead to a fall.
2. Guard the Skylights
Not all skylights are of the same form and size, hence it may not be possible to cover all of them efficiently. In such a scenario, you can use freestanding guardrails to alert the workers of the potential skylight hazard. This fall protection measure can be effective for all skylight sizes and shapes - they create safe walkways in the vicinity of unsafe skylights. If there are multiple skylights around a particular area on the roof, you can place the guardrails around them to secure all at the same time. It’s a cost-effective and time-saving solution.
3. Embrace Skylight Maintenance
Skylights are essential for allowing more natural light into your home or business. A dirty or damaged skylight, however, is a potential hazard. Employees will hardly avoid it if they can’t recognise it in time. It’s important to schedule regular maintenance of your skylights to ensure they’re always clean and not damaged. Perhaps you’ll need access to the skylights, and this requires proper personal fall protection. Usually, people use a safety net as fall protection for workers working on the roof or skylights. While this option can combat the effects of a fall, it may not be the best option. You’ll need a solution that can combat the cause of the fall.
4. Personal Fall Protection
Any work at height project requires relevant personal fall protection. Whether you’ll need to access the roof for skylight cleaning, maintenance, or to install the guardrails, your safety should be your primary priority. A relevant fall protection post, horizontal lifeline system, and Personal Protective Equipment are necessary for your fall protection. The safety harness should be connected to a slider running over the lifeline through a lanyard. If there’s a series of skylights, you can use a single horizontal lifeline trajectory for anchorage. The positioning of the lifeline can allow for protection against multiple fall hazards along the lifeline route.
The Bottom Line
Guardrails and personal fall protection can be comprehensive solutions to almost all the fall hazards on your roof. Guardrails can be your primary option to create safe walkways when traversing the roof. But if you need access to the skylights themselves, the personal fall protection will be your most effective solution. Also, always embrace skylight maintenance to enjoy more natural light in your building.