Your employees and tenants are important to you. That’s why you do everything you can to prevent accidents and injury in your building. Have you considered, though, that your roof could be an area where serious injury could occur? If you have skylights or roof hatches that are not guarded with a durable fall protection screen or hand railing, then the roof could very easily become the most dangerous part of your building.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) makes each employer responsible for furnishing employees “a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards.” With that in mind it is important to know that OSHA Regulation 29 CFR §1910.23 Guarding Floor and Wall Openings and Holes states the following:

(a)(4) Every skylight, floor opening and hole shall be guarded by a standard skylight screen or a fixed standard railing on all exposed sides.

(e)(8) Skylight screens shall be of such construction and mounting that they are capable of withstanding a load of 200 pounds applied perpendicular at any one area of the screen. They shall also be of such construction and mounting that under ordinary loads or impact, they will not deflect downward sufficiently to break the glass below them. The construction shall be of grillwork with openings not more than four inches long or slatwork with openings not more than two inches wide with length unrestricted.

Passive Protection Prevents Accidents

A skylight screen and roof hatch railing system are passive protection safety products in that they do not depend on the recognition of a hazard (i.e. unguarded skylights) and taking appropriate action to avoid the hazard. Manhole covers, street drainage grates and grates in sidewalks are other examples of “passive protection” safety products. These products do not require signage, safety instructions, safety colors or markings, etc. They only need to be in place.


The safety and health of your employees and tenants could depend on you taking the appropriate proactive measures. As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

If you have skylights and roof hatches on your building that do not currently have passive fall protection in place, contact us today for more information. We can provide you with possible materials for you to consider, and, if you would like, an estimate for installation.