Issued: November 2000

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, Training and Skills Development's (MLTSD) 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 MLTSD recommends that temporary barriers or guardrails be placed around skylights when workers are working on the roof.
  • The MLTSD 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.

ISSN 1195-5228

This resource does not replace the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations and should not be used as or considered legal advice. Health and safety inspectors apply and enforce these laws based on the facts they find in the workplace.