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Skylight Safety Obligations for Roofing Contracts

August 3, 2022

Skylight Safety

The roofing industry had a work fatality rate 10 times the average work fatality rate in 2018. Skylight safety and roofing safety is critical. 

Perhaps related to this problem, improper use of fall protection and lack of fall protection is one of the top OSHA violations. If you’re a roofing contractor, the danger to you and your employees is real. Knowing the danger and what you can do to prevent worksite accidents is important. Here’s what you need to know about fall protection and skylights. 

Lack of Fall Protection Costs Contractors

Roofing contractors have an obligation to protect themselves and their employees. These obligations are outlined on OSHA’s website. They are set in federal and state regulations and must be followed to protect the safety of the people in the roofing industry. 

Employers are commonly charged with violations for failure to implement appropriate safety protocols. Citations from OSHA can run in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Jobsite accidents and poor worksite safety procedures come at another cost: they tarnish reputations and cost future job opportunities. Ultimately, lack of safety protocols can drive a roofing contractor out of business. OSHA infractions are divided into two categories: serious and willful.

A serious violation is made due to an error, while a willful violation is a violation that occurs because the roofer chose to ignore regulation. Serious violations can result in a fine, but willful violations may even result in a prison sentence. Fall protection violations are among the top 10 most common serious and willful OSHA violations. 

What Contractors Can Do to Protect Employees

Roofing contractors who are serious about jobsite protection can start by creating a Jobsite Hazard Analysis (JHA) to identify risk. A JHA allows contractors to identify hazards before they cause accidents. This helps contractors mitigate risk and avoid accidents. During the JHA, the contractor should ask questions such as:

  • What could go wrong?
  • How could it happen? 
  • What would be the consequences?
  • How can this be avoided?

Often, JHAs require the involvement of on-site employees. By identifying these risks, the contractor can create a plan to prevent accidents. 

Skylight Safety Matters 

OSHA regulations state:

1926.501(b)(4)(i): Each employee on walking/working surfaces shall be protected from falling through holes (including skylights) more than 6 feet (1.8 m) above lower levels, by personal fall arrest systems, covers, or guardrail systems erected around such holes.

1926.501(b)(4)(ii): Each employee on a walking/working surface shall be protected from tripping in or stepping into or through holes (including skylights) by covers.

1926.501(b)(4)(iii): Each employee on a walking/working surface shall be protected from objects falling through holes (including skylights) by covers.

Whether it’s residential or commercial/industrial, many roofs have skylights that are not compliant when it comes to fall protection. Because they are not built to be structural, typical traditional skylights can be broken by a falling object, including a falling roofing contractor. 

For most skylights, there is no built-in fall protection to protect workers doing their job on the roof. This means that contractors must use code-compliant additional fall protection apparatus, often not a part of the skylight paraphrase.

VTECH Skylight Safety

VTECH solid-state skylights come with built-in fall protection. Whether you’re a roofing contractor or a homeowner, you never have to worry about your own vulnerability on the roof, as you are protected from fall-through incidents. You can see this protection for yourself on our certifications page, where we demonstrate the strength of our skylights. 

VTECH skylights are known as “solid-state” skylights, which means that they’re made from one piece. The frame is chemically bonded to the glazing so that it will not separate. VTECH skylights retain their structural integrity for years after their installation.

Our tests show that our skylights remain sound after being exposed to a variety of negative conditions including fire, high impacts, and pressure from extreme winds. Even when a 600-pound bag of lead shot is dropped on the skylight, the laminate beneath the skylight holds the weight and refuses to break. 

Contact VTECH Skylights to Learn More

Want to know more about skylight safety and how VTECH skylights exceed expectations? Call VTECH Skylights today to learn more.  

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