According to the CCOHS, tens of thousands of workers are victims of falls each year. Without knowing it, your employees may be at risk. We usually think about securing the edges of the roof, but rarely to make safe the roof access hatch. However, accidents involving skylights, access hatches, and poorly identified at-risk areas cause many tragic accidents every year!
To reduce the risk of falls, here are the different ways to protect your teams that use the roof access hatches and work on the roof.
How to prevent falls involving roof access hatches?
In some cases, the access hatch is the only way to access the roof, so how do you secure it to prevent any accidents? It’s easy to open it and to forget it, so it’s important to protect it at all times.
Regulation on fall protection
According to Section 14 of the Regulation Respecting Occupational Health and Safety, any opening in a floor that is at risk of causing a fall must be secured. Two options are available to you: protecting the opening with a guardrail or keeping it closed with a cover that can bear a load of at least 2.4 kN/m2.
The guardrail to make safe your roof access hatches
The best way to protect your employees on the roof is to use a guardrail for roof access hatches. Ideally, the workers who use the access hatch close it after each use. However, even if the hatch remains open, with a guardrail around it, you considerably reduce the risk of falls.
In addition to using a guardrail, there are other methods for protecting workers on the roof. Now let’s discover how to make safe a roof access hatch to ensure worker safety.
How to ensure worker safety around a roof acess hatch?
The guardrail is the safest and most practical device to protect the area around the roof access hatch. However, you still have to know how to install it properly. We strongly recommend entrusting the installation of the guardrail to an experienced team to ensure its compliance with applicable standards. However, here are a few rules to keep in mind when installing the guardrail.
Positioning the guardrail door
First, the door must be on the ladder side. If the hatch is located on the edge of the roof, the access door must be facing the center of the roof.
It is also highly recommended leaving enough space at the entrance and exit of the hatch so that the people who use it can easily pass through it. This space is necessary to allow the workers who are moving through the hatch to grab onto the guardrail, stand up, and then pass through the door.
Load supported by the guardrail
A good guardrail is capable of withstanding 1.0 kN at any point of the guardrail for access walkways, equipment platforms, adjacent staircases, the edge of the roof, and any other place where there is little traffic or few people gathering.
The other collective fall protection systems
Although using a guardrail for access hatches is mandatory, safety on the roof isn’t limited to this.
You should also consider adding:
- a freestanding guardrail system to protect the edge of the roof;
- warning lines to mark off hazardous areas;
- guardrails for skylights to prevent tripping on elements of the roof;
- an extension ladder stabilizer for movement on an extension ladder.
Contact the experts from Delta Prevention for your fall protection
For more information about our devices, contact our collective fall protection experts. Delta Prevention is proud to make safe roof access hatches and to ensure the safety of Canadian workers.