Rooftops are among the riskiest job sites. And while skylights add significantly to a home or building’s comfort, performance, and aesthetics, they also pose safety risks that must be considered by anyone who sets foot on the roof.
“It’s important to remember that skylights are not considered fall protection devices unless they have been specifically rated or otherwise designated as such,” says Marco Ferrazzo, manager with Artistic Skylight. “Fortunately, there are safety devices and elements that can be added to a skylight system to reduce the risk of injuries.”
It’s been said before and always rings true: the biggest consideration when adding a skylight is rooftop safety. Here are some ways to keep installers, maintenance crews, and other rooftop travellers on their feet:
- Fall screens: Rooftop safety products like Artistic Skylight’s FPS-FS galvanized steel mesh cage can be placed over skylights to “catch” individuals or objects from falling through. Moreover, fall screens serve as a visible warning on a rooftop that indicates where skylights are located.
- Guardrail systems: Metal framing can be installed around a skylight to prevent individuals from crossing over the structure. These guardrail systems are quick and easy to install and made to withstand the elements. Like fall screens, they also provide a visual safety cue to anyone working around skylights.
- Skylights rated for fall protection: As noted above, there are skylights that are specifically designed and rated for fall protection. This means they have been rigorously tested to the highest industry standards (e.g., OSHA fall protection) and built to stay resilient against harsh weather conditions. Artistic Skylight’s Fall Protection Series, for example, are made from ultra-high impact resistant polycarbonate material and can withstand a maximum load drop of 250 lbs up to 7ft., which equals 1750 ft/lbs of energy.
- Personal fall arrest systems: These are systems worn by individuals that “anchor” them to a fixed location on the roof and stop them from hitting the ground in the event of a fall. Personal fall arrest systems consist of a body harness, anchor connector, and a connecting device that work in unison to restrict how far a person can fall while also reducing the force of impact on the body.
- Travel restraint systems: Similar to fall arrest systems, travel restraint systems keep individuals tethered to a fixed point on the roof, thereby limiting the range of their movements in hazardous areas. Their primary goal is to keep rooftop visitors from stepping inside risky areas, to begin with.
- Safety signs: It never hurts to be reminded of safety rules and best practices. Signs can be placed on the rooftop to remind anyone on top that skylights exist and that special precautions are required.
Enjoying a skylight’s many benefits should never come with the risk of personal injury. It’s important to consider how added safety features and equipment keeps everyone on solid footing.
“Safety takes priority,” adds Ferrazzo. “We won’t send our people up there unless we know we’ve done everything to get them down without incident.”
For more skylight safety products and insights, visit Artistic Skylight, email email@example.com, or call 1.866.878.DOME (3663).