Tech Talk Blog

Guard Against Falls and Fines with OSHA Compliant Skylight Guards

skylight guards on roof

Although skylights create an attractive natural light source in any commercial facility, that light can compromise safety without the proper fall protection. Skylights pose significant risks to employee safety during rooftop maintenance and potentially jeopardize OSHA compliance. If you don’t have tested and certified fall safety systems in place, you could get hit with OSHA violations and heavily fined. Even worse, your rooftop workers could fall through your skylight and become seriously injured.

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What You Can Learn From OSHA Fall Protection Citations

In April, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a $2.4 million dollar settlement with Republic Steel over alleged safety violations found in plants located in Lorain, Canton and Massillon, Ohio, and Blasdell, N.Y. The comprehensive settlement addresses more than 100 alleged OSHA safety and health violations discovered in 2013 and a “serious” citation stemming from the death of a Republic employee in the Lorain plant rail yard in February, 2014.

Although the sheer size of the settlement is an ample reminder that we should all take safety seriously, perhaps the more interesting part of this story is how Republic first landed in the crosshairs of OSHA inspectors.  Last fall, OSHA placed all of Republic’s facilities under greater scrutiny when an employee sustained serious injuries after falling through a roof at the Lorain plant.  As a result of this incident, OSHA inspectors fanned out to multiple Republic plants under the auspices of the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP).  This program “concentrates resources on inspecting employers who have demonstrated indifference to their OSH Act obligations by willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations.”

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Did You Know?

According to OSHA, the distance from a leading edge does not mitigate the hazard? Any leading edge over 4 feet in general industry and 6 feet in construction is considered a hazard.