Preventing Falls Through Skylights
Many times skylights are overlooked as a hazard when work is being undertaking on roofs.
Skylights are not designed to support the weight of a person and they should always have guardrail protection, skylight protectors or safety wire mesh installed. Be aware however that simply having safety wire mesh installed may not be sufficient. Mesh can degrade over time and needs to be examined for its integrity, as does the structure to which it is attached. It is also vital to check the installation and its compliance to Australian Standard AS/NZS 4389. For more information on safety mesh requirements read our document “The Myths of Safety Wire Mesh”.
Our article Don’t fall for the hidden dangers of skylights highlights the real risks.
Everybody seems to think that we’re invincible. At least I used to believe that.
When you hear about accidents you hear about the new guys, the guys that have never been on the roof. The guys that joke too much. The guys that like to play around. But Joe was … he was my top Foreman. Safety wise he was one of the more cautious persons that we actually have here. But if it happened to him, it could happen to anybody and I realise that me coming home is not guaranteed any more.
This is a true story, told by the workers who were there the day Joe fell to his death.
Joe had worked for the same roofing company for 25 years.
April 21, 2011.
It was around 7 o’clock in the morning that day. We got out of the truck, start setting up our things, went up to the roof.
Julio was starting up the vacuum truck. Joe was over there and I was telling Joe that I was not coming in on Friday and we were just, just talking and he was OK and in a matter of seconds I saw a shadow. He went through a skylight. Fell down.
It was a big hallway, kind of like a storage area. I actually was talking to him and I mean, I started praying actually, and I said “Oh Lord, don’t let it be”. I guess I had a lot of emotions.
I feel badly because I know him for many, many years. First couple of days I couldn’t sleep. Now, even up to today I’m still remembering him and I feel bad. Cos he had family like I do. It’s been a while but I still remember.
You know, if anybody is listening and doesn’t want to go through what I went through just be more cautious.
When you go to work, you have to pay attention to safety above all else.
Know who you’re working around, where you’re working around and if you see a possible hazard report it right away. Don’t think that the other guy should catch it. Don’t say I’ve been doing this for 20 years that won’t happen to me. Cos it’s not true.
He was the greatest roofer I knew and look what happened.