One of the most common concerns regarding skylights is about safety. This is for good reason, as any hole in the roof is a possible hazard. Proper design and testing of a skylight, combined with good fall protection precautions can help to minimize these concerns.
There is plenty of confusion regarding the different regulations and requirements for skylights. One of the best practices is to utilize an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliant tested skylight, combined with a secondary fall protection device, such as a safety screen. The safety screen is available in an external and internal mounting option. The preferred option is to include the safety screen as an internal mount, that is permanently attached to the top of the roof curb, under the skylight. This method allows for the safety screen to always remain in place, even if the skylight is removed or damaged. The screen will prevent a fall through the opening and create the secondary fall protection needed, in case the skylight has been removed, or become brittle from age and exposure.
Most major skylight companies will test their standard size skylights to meet OSHA compliance. The OSHA standard – OSHA 29 CFR 1910.23(i)(4) – requires the skylight to survive a 600-pound static load for over 60 seconds. This is combined with a 400 pound drop test from 42” above the skylight. One item to clarify regarding OSHA, is that OSHA only writes and enforces work place regulations. OSHA does not test or approve any products. Therefore, there is no such thing as an “OSHA Rated” skylight or smoke vent.
While these compliance standards are good guidelines, proper safety and awareness on the roof is always of the utmost importance.Disclaimer: Logistics Lighting, LLC is a distributor of commercial skylight related products and offers this general conceptual information to you as a courtesy only. This complimentary assistance is not to be used or relied upon by anyone as a substitute for professional engineering design and documentation required by building code, contract or applicable law. By accepting these comments, you agree they do not constitute any representations, endorsements of, or an assumption by Logistics Lighting, LLC of any responsibility/liability for either the adequacy of the design of this building/roofing system, code compliance, or any other material mentioned.