Roof Access Hatch: What Are the Standards to Comply With?


A roof access hatch is a protective device that helps prevent the risks of falling from a height, off a roof. In addition, a roof access hatch is both a way to access the roof and a significant physical barrier that lets you create a real boundary when faced with the potentially dangerous situation that the height represents.

What is a roof access hatch?

Roof access hatches perform several functions. They are emergency hatches through their function that makes it possible to access or exit a roof securely. In most cases, they are also a way to offer safe and practical access to a flat roof to perform maintenance work on it or to access a rooftop terrace. Generally speaking, roof access hatches can be installed on flat roofs with a maximum incline angle of 30°. A roof access hatch is an essential element if frequent access to a roof is required. In case of work on a roof, it’s an ideal way to ensure the safety of workers at height.

In addition to providing access to the roof, a roof access hatch must also be well-insulated. It’s especially thanks to skillful design that, during harsh winter conditions in regions with extreme weather conditions, no frost or condensation formation can occur inside the roof access hatch.

Roof access hatches are ideally made of aluminum, because this material represents a lower load on the roof. A roof access hatch must also have a reasonable weight to make it easy to handle. Indeed, it must be easy to lift and place on the roof without the use of multiple devices, by everyone. The material of a roof access hatch must also be resistant to fire and explosions.

The standards to comply with for a roof access hatch

In Québec and Canada, all accesses for getting on or off a roof must consist of a guardrail around the roof access hatches. Roof access hatches that are installed on roofs to protect against falls by delineating the roof itself must comply with certain Canadian building standards. These standards are established to prevent the risk of falls from heights as much as possible.

The standards to comply with are the standards set by the National Building Code (NBC) and the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) in the United States. When installing a roof access hatch, therefore, always choose a hatch with technical characteristics that meet the points required by Canada and Québec. Only complying with these standards lets you ensure the safety of everyone.

  • A roof access hatch must be able to be held in the open position by a device. It must not be able to close by itself and injure someone.
  • A protection and support bar must be attached right near the exit in continuation of the staircase leading to the roof.
  • Collective protection systems such as guardrails must be placed all around the opening for the times when this is open.
  • A self-closing gate can be installed around the roof access hatch if this offers added safety.

To ensure your compliance with the mandatory and recommended standards of the authorities in Québec and Canada, rely on professionals recognized for their know-how and their proper compliance with the applicable standards. Indeed, all roof access hatches and combinations of safety systems must be tested for safety according to regional standards, and there’s nothing better than counting on an experienced local supplier.


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roof access hatch, safety, Standards