Skylight Screen Fall Protection
Although skylights provide the benefits of natural light to employees working inside your facility, they also present a serious fall hazard to those charged with rooftop inspection, maintenance, and repair. If an employee trips or inadvertently backs into a skylight, the dome can shatter, and there is nothing to stop a fall. In the eyes of OSHA, a skylight is no different from any other open hole found on your roof. Skylight screens are recommended to ensure worker safety and OSHA compliance because it is often difficult to determine if a skylight can withstand the forces associated with a fall.
The most common approaches to eliminating skylight fall hazards include use of a non-penetrating base guardrail system surrounding the entire perimeter of the skylight or a dome shaped wire screen that secures to the curb.
Selecting the best approach to skylight guarding comes down to prioritizing a couple of key factors. If your goal is maximize the amount of sunlight inside your facility, or if penetrating the curb is a concern, a weighted base guardrail system may be your best option. For rooftop applications with large numbers of skylights, or if the goal is to present an uncluttered roof surface, skylight screens are commonly used as a fall protection solution.
Please note that since OSHA views a skylight as an unprotected rooftop opening, provisions from the Walking Working Surfaces Regulations apply:
- 1910.28(b)(3)(i) — Each employee is protected from falling through any hole (including skylights) that is 4 feet (1.2 m) or more above a lower level by one or more of the following:
- 1910.28(b)(3)(i)(A) — Covers;
- 1910.28(b)(3)(i)(B) — Guardrail systems;
- 1910.28(b)(3)(i)(C) — Travel restraint systems; or
- 1910.28(b)(3)(i)(D) — Personal fall arrest systems
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