When a person works at a height, on a roof, or near a skylight, there is a risk of falling. Fall protection—such as a guardrail specially designed for a skylight—must be installed. In a work site, this fall protection is absolutely mandatory. Let’s take a look at the other legal and moral skylight fall protection requirements together.
In which cases should fall protection be used around a skylight?
Although they are not always completely aware of the risks of injury and even death, building owners, builders, employers, supervisors, and workers are responsible for their safety when working at a height. The fall risks when someone is working above, around, or near the perimeter of a skylight are very high and should not be neglected. An employee should never agree to perform work near a skylight unless appropriate fall protection procedures and measures have been provided to ensure their safety.
The workers affected by these safety measures are employees who:
- carry out new construction projects or new installations;
- repair structural elements;
- refurbish a façade;
- remove snow from a roof of a building;
- decommission a building;
- repair and maintain skylights, windows, heating/ ventilation/ air-conditioning systems, lighting fixtures, satellite dishes, security cameras, two-way radio antennas, solar panels, etc.
The specific requirements for securing skylights
All skylights must be considered as representing a fall risk for workers or anyone else who is on the roof. Employers must therefore establish a fall protection plan that must be carried out and implemented to protect workers who work near all skylights present. At minimum, the plan must provide for the following fall protection measures:
- guardrails or temporary barriers around skylights to prevent a worker from being able to walk on, trip over, or fall through them;
- a screen, grid, or other protection to cover each skylight made of a material strong enough to withstand any load imposed by a worker;
- movement limiters to prevent a worker from walking on or tripping over the skylight;
- a fall limiter designed to limit a worker’s free fall.
The legal requirements in Quebec concerning the risks of falls around skylights
In Quebec, employers and owners of roofs that include one or more skylights must apply the Safety Code for the Construction Industry, particularly the following two rules:
- 2.9.2. Installation of guardrails: Guardrails must be placed on open sides of a floor, roof, platform, ramp, scaffolding, or stairs around an excavation or any area from which workers may fall:
- (1) into a dangerous liquid or substance;
- (2) a vertical distance of 1.2 m or more where he uses a wheelbarrow or another vehicle; or
- (3) a height greater than 3 m in other cases.
Despite the foregoing, such a guardrail may be removed during work if it is a nuisance. In such a case, workers must wear a safety harness secured to an anchorage system by a fall arrest connecting devices, the whole in accordance with sections 2.10.12 and 2.10.15. The work area must then be delimited in particular by a continuous barrier or trestles of a minimum height of 0.7 m, located at a distance varying between 0.9 m and 1.2 m from the place where workers are at risk of falling, or by a warning line complying with the requirements of section 18.104.22.168, so as to prevent access thereto by persons not working therein.
- 2.3.1 Equivalences
In the application of this Code, the nature, dimensions, and arrangement of the materials may differ from the rules established as long as the strength of the materials and their use ensure as much safety as the prescribed rule.
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