Fall Protection: The Key to Ensuring Safe Skylight Protection

Working at height can be a hazardous job and falls from heights are one of the leading causes of workplace injuries and fatalities.

One common challenge for workers at height, is working around skylights, where adequate fall protection is essential to avoid the fall hazards they pose.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the importance of fall protection when working near skylights or on fragile roofs, and explore some of the best practices for ensuring safe skylight protection.

Understanding Skylights

Skylights are a type of window for roofs that allows natural light to enter indoor spaces from above. They consist of a window-like structure that is installed on the roof, allowing sunlight to pass through and illuminate the area below. Skylights can be made of various materials such as glass or plastic and come in different shapes and sizes.

They capture natural light, reducing the need for artificial lighting during the day, however for those working at height, skylight fall protection is essential to reduce unnecessary falls, injuries, and even death.

Skylight Protection Hazards

Working on a fragile roof with obstacles such as skylights, poses significant hazards for workers. These hazards include:

  • Falls: With any form of working at height, workers can fall from the roof, regardless of wether it is fragile or has obstacles like skylights. A fall from a height can cause serious injuries or even death.
  • Collapses: Fragile roofs can collapse under the weight of workers, equipment, or materials, again leading to falls and subsequent severe injuries.
  • Roof penetration: Workers may accidentally step on to a skylight or other fragile roofing materials and fall through it, resulting in serious injuries.
Standard Kee Cover for fragile skylight and roof light protection

Working at Height Safety

To mitigate these hazards and prevent accidents, it’s essential to implement appropriate fall protection measures when working on fragile roofs or near obstacles such as skylights.

This includes using guardrails, walkways, platforms, personal fall arrest systems and other protective equipment designed to keep workers safe while working at height. We will cover this in more detail shortly.

In addition to providing adequate fall protection measures, it’s crucial to ensure that workers are adequately trained in fall protection and their use of fall protection equipment such as fall restraint and fall arrest systems. It is also essential that fall protection equipment is regularly inspected and maintained to ensure its effectiveness.

Employers should conduct regular hazard assessments and provide ongoing safety training to employees to help prevent accidents and protect their workforce from injury or death.

The Importance of Fall Protection

Fall protection refers to the safety measures that are put in place to prevent falls and other accidents. In the context of skylight roofs, fall restraint is critical for safety because it helps to prevent people from accidentally falling through unsecured or improperly installed skylights.

Skylights themselves can pose a significant risk if they are not properly secured and reinforced to withstand weight and impact. However, even with a secure skylight, there is still a danger of falls if the surrounding edge is not properly protected.

This is especially true for flat roofs, where there may not be any natural safety barriers to prevent someone from accidentally stepping too close to the edge.

By installing appropriate fall protection such as guardrails on ladders or parapet walls around skylight roofs, building owners can help ensure the safety of occupants and visitors.

Types of Fall Protection

Fall protection is an essential consideration for anyone working at height. Falls from height can cause serious injuries or even death, making it crucial to implement appropriate fall protection measures.

There are two main types of fall protection: collective and personal.

Collective fall protection systems

Collective fall protection is designed as height safety systems to protect multiple workers simultaneously. These systems include:

    • Guardrails: Such as Kee Guard are used to prevent falls by creating a barrier between the worker and the edge of the roof or other work surfaces.

    • Walkways: Including Kee Walk provide non-slip surfaces to navigate slippery or fragile surfaces.

    • Stepover Platforms: Like Kee Step provide a safe solution to navigate over obstacles such as skylights

    • Safety nets: Catch workers who may fall, preventing them from hitting the ground or lower levels.

Personal fall protection systems

Personal fall protection systems, on the other hand, are designed to protect individual workers. These systems include:

    • Harnesses: Worn by workers and attached to an anchor point via a lanyard or lifeline such as our Kee Anchor range that includes Weightanka, Wireanka and Accessanka

    • Lanyards: Connect the harness to an anchor point and prevent the worker from falling more than a certain distance.

    • Overhead Fall protection: including Kee Track rigid rail system

Both collective and personal fall protection systems are essential for ensuring worker safety when working at heights. Employers must evaluate their worksites’ unique needs and select appropriate safeguards that provide adequate protection while allowing workers to perform their tasks safely and efficiently.

Kee Cover Skylight Protection

According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), falls through fragile roofs and roof lights account for a significant proportion of height-related fatalities in the construction industry.

To prevent such accidents, it’s crucial to implement appropriate fall protection measures, including skylight and roof light protection cover fall protection solutions.

By installing these covers, you can eliminate the risk of falls and ensure your maintenance staff’s safety while they work on the rooftop. It’s essential to prioritize fall protection when carrying out any work at height to prevent accidents and protect workers’ well-being.

Fall protection is crucial for anyone working at heights, as falls can result in serious injuries or even fatalities. One common cause of such accidents is falling through fragile skylights.

To prevent these incidents, it’s essential to implement proper fall protection measures, such as the Kee Cover modular system.

This robust system effectively prevents falls through skylights and roof lights while allowing natural light to enter the building.

The cover’s design makes it suitable for use on construction sites on the standing seam and trapezoidal roofs, providing a versatile fall protection solution that enhances worker safety and well-being.

Choosing the best fall protection

When it comes to choosing the right fall protection for skylights, building owners should consider the hierarchy of control as outlined in UK health and safety regulations.

This approach involves assessing the risks associated with working at height and implementing control measures in order of priority.

In this regard, fall protection is considered a collective measure that should be implemented before individual measures such as personal protective equipment (PPE).

Here are some factors to consider when choosing the right fall protection for skylights:

    • Risk assessment: Conduct a thorough risk assessment of the roof area where the skylights are located. This will help identify potential hazards and determine the most appropriate type of edge protection.

    • Compatibility: Ensure that the fall protection system is compatible with the specific type of skylight installed on the roof. Some types of skylights may require specialized edge protection solutions.

    • Performance standards: Choose an edge protection system that meets relevant performance standards such as BS EN 13374 or BS 6180. This will ensure that the system is strong enough to withstand foreseeable loads and forces.

    • Ease of installation: Consider how easy it is to install and maintain the chosen edge protection system. Some systems may require professional installation, while others can be easily installed by building maintenance staff.

    • Aesthetics: Consider how well the chosen edge protection system integrates with the overall design and aesthetics of the building. Guardrails or screens may be more visible than mesh systems, but they may also offer better visual appeal and architectural compatibility.

Choosing the right fall protection for skylights requires careful consideration of various factors including risk assessment, compatibility, performance standards, ease of installation, and aesthetics.

Building owners should prioritise the removal of risk, before focusing on collective measures such as guardrails before looking at individual measures such as PPE following UK health and safety regulations.