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Alert: Worker Falls Through Skylight

  • Issued: November 2000
  • Content last reviewed: January 2012

Disclaimer: This resource has been prepared to help the workplace parties understand some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and regulations. It is not legal advice. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations. For further information please see full disclaimer.

Hazard Summary

A worker, repairing the curbing around skylights on the roof of an industrial building, fell through the Plexiglas skylight and sustained fatal injuries. The accident occurred in July 1999.

The Ministry of Labour's (MOL) investigation found that when the worker completed the repairs, he went to the edge of the roof to retrieve a ladder. The worker was walking backwards, dragging the ladder, when he fell through the skylight.

Recommended Precautions

  • The MOL recommends that temporary barriers or guardrails be placed around skylights when workers are working on the roof.
  • The MOL recommends obtaining information from the building owner or a Professional Engineer about whether or not the skylight is designed to support the weight of one or more people.
  • Owners of buildings with skylights, and employers of workers who do maintenance or construction on these roofs, must provide the workers with information, instruction and supervision relating to associated hazards as required by section 25(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • Section 26 of Ontario Regulation 213/91 (Regulation for Construction Projects) requires that an opening in a roof to which a worker has access be protected by a guardrail or covered with securely fastened planks. This applies to situations where the skylight has been removed to conduct built-up roof repairs or prior to the skylight being installed on new construction.

Remember that while complying with occupational health and safety laws, you are also required to comply with applicable environmental laws.

Permission is granted to photocopy Ministry of Labour alerts. Please distribute them widely and post them where people will see them.

ISSN 1195-5228

Disclaimer: This web resource has been prepared to assist the workplace parties in understanding some of their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the regulations. It is not intended to replace the OHSA or the regulations and reference should always be made to the official version of the legislation.

It is the responsibility of the workplace parties to ensure compliance with the legislation. This web resource does not constitute legal advice. If you require assistance with respect to the interpretation of the legislation and its potential application in specific circumstances, please contact your legal counsel.

While this web resource will also be available to Ministry of Labour inspectors, they will apply and enforce the OHSA and its regulations based on the facts as they may find them in the workplace. This web resource does not affect their enforcement discretion in any way.