Summary Statement

A toolbox talk on preventing falls through skylights and holes. Includes questions to ask, an incident to discuss with images, and a place to record questions the trainer would like to ask about the incident. Part of a collection. Click on the 'collection' button to access the other items.

How do we prevent falls through skylights and holes?

Ask the following questions and give time for answers.

  • What are the hazards? Falls due to work near skylights and holes in floors or roofs.
  • What are the results? Broken bones, head injuries, internal damage, death.
  • What should we look for? All skylights have secured covers, unguarded holes in roofs, floors or other decks near work area or travel path, people sitting or placing weight on skylights and plywood covering holes in floors.

Relate this incident or, better, one you know. Ask for lessons learned.

Actual Incident: In Washington State on November 22, 2002, a carpenter went on a roof to cover a skylight opening with plastic to keep the rain from getting into a residential room addition below. He fell 9 feet 10 inches through the skylight opening, landed on the concrete floor below and died. Also, a worker died after attempting to carry a sheet of plywood on an elevated floor of a construction project at the request of his boss. The wood was covering a hole in the floor that the worker fell through, pointing out the need to label covers.

Ask the following question and ensure every item is covered.

How do we prevent these results?

  • Guard or cover all holes with adequate guardrail systems or covers. Label covers (for instance, “HOLE”).
  • Use temporary barricades for work or permanent guarding system such as cage around skylights (see photo).
  • Ensure materials used for guardrail systems and covers are of adequate strength, meeting the OSHA standards.
  • Use Fall protection PPE when possible.

Image with guardrails around opening

Ask the following questions about this site and ensure every item is covered.

Let’s talk about this site now.

  • What issues can lead to falls through skylights and holes? Unguarded skylights and holes, placing weight on skylight, no PPE used, etc.
  • Are there skylights or holes near your work area? Are they guarded?
  • What makes an adequate guard? Materials used are of adequate strength, full railing system, cages, etc.
  • Is fall protection PPE provided here? Are you trained to use it?

Shattered skylight guarded skylight

Record questions below that you want to ask about this site.