OSHA Skylight Fall Prevention


You can easily prevent yourself from falling!

More than 800 construction workers die every year while on the job. Falls are the number one cause of fatalities in construction. Falls cause one of every three construction worker deaths. These falls happen in a split second while workers are on roofs, scaffolds, ladders, bridges, and other work surfaces. But these deaths can be prevented.

The video you are about to see shows how quickly falls at construction sites can lead to workers’ deaths. The video will also show what employers must do so that the work can be done more safely. Employers have a responsibility to provide a safe workplace and required protective equipment. You’ll see that using the right type of fall protection saves lives.

Please be advised. The scenes you are about to see deal with deaths at construction sites and might be disturbing for some people. All scenes are based on true stories.

Two workers were re-roofing a two-story town home. They were not wearing any personal fall protection, but guardrails were installed on the roof. The roof of the building was pitched and there was one skylight in the area that the workers were re-roofing. One worker was using a nail gun to install new shingles over the single layer of old shingles. He was installing shingles in the center of the roof near an unguarded skylight. A co-worker was setting shingles.

As the worker nailed shingles near the unguarded skylight, he stepped backwards onto it. The skylight was not strong enough to hold his weight, and it broke. He fell through the skylight. He fell 15 feet, and landed on the floor below. He was badly injured and died two days later at the hospital.

Let’s look at the events leading up to this tragic incident, and see how it could have been prevented. The roof already had guardrails, so the employer thought his workers were protected from fall hazards. But, he was wrong. Originally, when the worker was installing shingles near the skylight, the skylight was only covered by a translucent plastic dome. Now, the skylight is guarded by a cover that meets OSHA requirements. As before, the worker is nailing in shingles. Now, as he steps backwards, instead of stepping onto the skylight, he bumps into the cover, regains his footing, and continues installing shingles.

This example shows the importance of following OSHA’s fall protection standards. These types of construction deaths are preventable. The fall protection measures shown here save workers’ lives.

Use fall protection on the job: it could be the difference between life and death.

If you would like more information, contact OSHA at www.osha.gov or 1-800-321-OSHA that’s 1-800-321-6742.

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