The Dangers of Fiberglass Skylights
Did you know that skylights are the 6th most common cause of fatal working at height accidents? Due to weather and UV damage, skylights can quickly deteriorate, rendering their protective layers useless leaving people susceptible to injuries, and in most cases- fatalities. According to the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, there are approximately 275,000-unit skylights sold every year in the United States. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates skylights and other roof openings, requiring them to be guarded. If guardrails are not practical, alternative forms of protection including catch platforms, safety nets, or fixed covers must be provided according to OSHA standard 29 CFR 1926.105. The violation of these standards leaves every single person who walks on the roof at risk of injury or death. Due to the lack of safety precautions, sixty-one people have died in the United States within the last three years from falls through skylights.
Why does this keep occurring? In almost all instances of fatal incidents, the presence of skylights are unknown to the professional working on the roof. In most instances, skylights are not visible to the human eye due to snow on the roof, lack of visibility, or coating that has been placed over the skylight itself. Because of this, the most important safety recommendations fall upon the owners of the building. All service personnel should be provided with documentation outlining the location of every single skylight that is on the roof. Even when documentation is given to workers, extreme caution should always be taken when present on a roof. Due to human error, mistakes are bound to happen, making the practice of OSHA’s regulations that much more pertinent. By doing your part and ensuring that the installation of skylights are done efficiently and accurately, you substantially reduce the chance of another person’s injury or death.