Shed light on skylight hazards

September 1, 2011

Despite the fact that an OSHA standard requires roofers and other workers to guard skylights and roof openings, fatal falls persist – perhaps because of workers’ mistaken belief that plastic dome covers provide adequate fall protection. NIOSH recommends the following precautions:

  • Train all workers to recognize the dangers of stepping or sitting on skylights and the dangers of falls – even from relatively low heights.
  • Install railings or screen guards on all roof openings before roofing work begins, and leave them in place throughout the duration of the project.
  • Employers must provide fall protection devices to all workers.
  • In situations where guardrails or safety harnesses are impractical, alternate protections – such as safety nets or catch platforms – must be provided.
  • Skylights should have labels affixed to them by the manufacturer, warning of the dangers of sitting or stepping on them.