This year, GBCA is participating in OSHA’s Focus Four Campaign, providing resources to avoid incidents involving OSHA’s Focus Four hazards. This week’s toolbox talk is about preventing falls through skylights and holes. Scroll down to read it. Click below to download it as a printable Toolbox Talk.

Preventing Falls Through Skylights and Holes

Ask the following questions and give time for answers.

  • Did you know that a skylight is considered an open hole?
  • What are the hazards?
    • Falls due to work near skylights and holes in floors or roofs
  • What are the results?
    • Broken bones, head injuries, internal damage, death
  • What should we look for?
    • All skylights are considered open floor holes unless they are covered with a cage or another protective system, or rated to stand on.

Actual Incident:

Pittsburgh PA: An employee was killed after falling 18 feet through a skylight to the ground below. The employee was repairing a rotted section of the roof. During the repair, the employee stepped back onto a skylight and fell through to the lower level. The skylight was not covered or guarded. The employee suffered multiple internal injuries and blunt force trauma to the head.

Ask the following question and ensure every item is covered.

How do we prevent these results?

  • Guard or cover all holes with adequate guardrail systems or covers. Label covers (for instance, “HOLE”).
  • Use temporary barricades for work or permanent guarding system such as cage around skylights (see photo).
  • Ensure materials used for guardrail systems and covers are of adequate strength, meeting the OSHA standards.
  • Use Fall protection PPE when possible.

Ask the following questions about this site and ensure every item is covered.

Let’s talk about this site now:

  • What issues can lead to falls through skylights and holes? Unguarded skylights and holes, placing weight on skylight, no PPE used, etc.
  • Are there skylights or holes near your work area? Are they guarded or rated to walk on?
  • What makes an adequate guard? Materials used are of adequate strength, full railing system, cages, etc.
  • Is fall arrest or restraint systems provided here? Are you trained to use it?
  • If you are going to use fall arrest or restraint systems, what will be the anchor point?