Did you know that OSHA requires roofers and other construction workers to secure and protect skylights and open roofs? In spite of this construction sites continue to be plagued by fatal drops.
Often workers falsely believe that plastic dome covers offer adequate protection. But these are often not strong enough to carry weight and prevent falling through.
NIOSH (the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) offers the following advice for construction situation:
- Have adequate training in place to ensure workers understand the threats of resting on skylights. Be sure they are also aware of how deadly falls can be, even from heights that are perceived as “safe”.
- It is important that all roof openings and skylights are clearly delineated with barriers or warnings before work begins. This is especially true for roofing work but applies to any construction activity. These protections should remain in place throughout the project.
- Workers should be outfitted with safety harnesses to help protect workers from falls.
- Sometimes guardrails, safety harnesses, and other methods are impractical. In those cases, alternate forms of protection need to be leveraged such as safety netting.
- Skylights can be particularly dangerous. They should have warning labels affixed that caution against stepping on them.
It may seem silly or a waste of time to some to take these precautions. But, one worker death or serious injury can completely undo a construction project and an ill-prepared company.
Running a construction company can be a rewarding business. But, risk management is critical. Small investments in safety will protect against workers comp cost increases. In turn this helps to ensure maximized profitability.
Be sure to talk with your insurance professional for other risk management ideas that can help to improve the bottom line.