Safety Tips Injury prevention

Prevent falls when working near rooftop hatches

Photo: Scharvik/iStockphoto

Guarding floor and wall openings and holes is a requirement under OSHA’s fall protection standard. Hatches, which provide workers with direct access to a rooftop where equipment is often stored, fall under this requirement.

Help prevent falls when working near hatches. According to CPWR – The Center for Construction Research and Training, you should take several steps before work begins:

  • Use a fixed ladder to access the roof. Secure an extension ladder to restrict movement if you don’t have a fixed ladder.
  • Install grab bars to use when transitioning from the ladder to the roof.
  • Install guardrails around the open sides of the hatch.
  • Install a swing gate that opens away from the hatch opening.

Once work begins, workers should:

  • Make sure their path to and through the hatch is free of debris.
  • Be in communication with other workers.
  • Use the grab bars when accessing the hatch.
  • Close the hatch lid when not in use.
  • Not use the hatch lid as a place to sit.
  • Wear appropriate personal protective equipment when working at a height of 6 feet or higher.

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