Rooftop Safety

Skyline Group: Changing the Narrative on Rooftop Safety

Words like stakeholders, partners and compliance standards are often thrown around, but it’s crucial to remember that these terms represent, real individuals who rely on your buildings. As roof safety accident statistics continue to rise in Canada, we’re inviting building managers, architects and property managers to join us in changing the trend.

Property managers in Canada operate within a strict regulatory framework, particularly the Canadian Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), which prioritizes safety for all individuals accessing rooftops. These regulations aim to mitigate risks and prevent accidents, serving as a comprehensive framework to safeguard lives. Despite this, figures for height-related accidents and injuries continue to rise year-on-year.

These statistics are more than just data points; they are reminders of the human cost of preventable accidents. Preventable injuries can change lives, and the responsibility to prevent them extends beyond compliance.

Skyline Group: A Controlled Approach to Rooftop Safety

At the core of our safety approach is the Hierarchy of Controls, a systematic method to mitigate risks, with prevention as the key focus. We categorize control measures into five levels:

  • Elimination: The most effective method, where the hazard is eliminated entirely.
  • Substitution: When elimination isn’t possible, hazards are replaced with safer alternatives.
  • Engineering Controls: Physical changes to the rooftop environment to reduce risks.
  • Administrative Controls: Focuses on changing work practices and procedures.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): The last line of defense that complements other controls.

Our mission is to empower property managers to eliminate, substitute, engineer, and establish administrative controls while ensuring the right guidance on PPE specification. We offer onsite safety consultations to help property managers discover, define and deliver rooftop safety solutions tailored to their unique needs.

Changing the Safety Narrative: How We Can Help

At Skyline, our commitment to rooftop safety goes beyond providing off-the-shelf solutions. We design and build height safety solutions tailored for professionals, by professionals. Our streamlined methodology empowers property managers and facility maintenance teams to customize safety solutions that precisely meet the unique needs of their rooftops.

Step #1: Discover

In this crucial initial step, we emphasize the principle that you don’t know what you don’t know. Our team of safety experts stands ready to offer their support, guidance, and extensive experience in understanding the layout of your rooftop and the existing processes for accessing it. Whether through detailed site surveys, comprehensive safety audits, informative lunch and learn sessions, or hands-on safety training, our objective is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the various means of accessing and working on your rooftop. This step includes:

  • Onsite Safety Consultation: We meticulously assess your rooftop to identify potential hazards and areas of concern.
  • Lunch & Learn: We offer informative sessions to educate your team on best practices for rooftop safety.
  • Safety training: We provide hands-on safety training to ensure that your staff is well-prepared to navigate rooftop risks.

Step #2: Design

Building on our discoveries, we move on to the crucial process of defining the safety parameters of your rooftop. Based on our findings, we identify trip and fall hazards on your rooftop. If your roof is undergoing construction or renovation, we also consider the future layout to ensure that employees are protected from trip or fall hazards. This step includes:

  • Development of a safety program: We work on creating a comprehensive safety program that addresses the specific hazards and requirements of your rooftop.
  • Design of the future state: Our team designs a rooftop access and working environment that prioritizes safety and efficiency.
  • Engineered drawings: We provide engineered drawings, ensuring that our solutions adhere to safety standards.
  • Budget approval: We review and approve budgets, ensuring that the safety solutions are cost-effective and meet your financial constraints.

Step #3: Deliver

Execution is key to turning plans into reality. Our dedicated project management team is available around the clock to guide and manage the project as needed, ensuring a seamless installation process. We prioritize safety throughout the installation, and we even request pictures of the final installation for approval by our engineering team. Our aim is to guarantee that areas of concern on your rooftop are not only compliant with local guidelines but also undeniably safe. This step includes:

  • Comprehensive project management: Our project management experts can lead all parties involved in the project, ensuring efficient and effective execution.
  • Logistics coordination: We confirm shipping and on-site requirements to streamline the installation process.
  • Review and approval: We can schedule the review and approval of the installation to ensure that it aligns with our commitment to safety and exceeds your expectations.

Navigate Complex Regulations with Skyline

One of the most intricate challenges property managers and facility maintenance teams face in Canada is navigating the complex landscape of safety regulations. Each province and territory may have its unique requirements and standards, making it imperative to maintain a cohesive safety strategy that complies with regional regulations. At Skyline, we understand the complexities involved in complying with these regulations and provide invaluable assistance in ensuring your rooftop safety.

Here’s how Skyline Group helps you navigate these challenges effectively:

  • Compliance consultation: Our team offers comprehensive compliance consultation services. We help you decipher the regulations relevant to your location and industry, ensuring that your safety strategy aligns seamlessly with the current standards. With our expertise, you can navigate the intricacies of regional regulations confidently.
  • Continuous updates: Our commitment to staying informed means you’ll receive timely updates on regulatory changes. We keep you well-informed about any modifications that may affect your height safety strategy, so you’re always in compliance. This proactive approach helps you stay ahead of the curve and minimizes the risk of non-compliance.
  • Customized solutions: At Skyline, we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to rooftop safety. We tailor our safety solutions to your unique situation, ensuring they not only meet but also exceed provincial safety requirements. Our customized approach ensures that you remain compliant while providing the highest level of safety for your rooftop workers and visitors.

Stand Up for Safety with Skyline Group

Here at Skyline, we’re reminding building managers not to discover safety by accident. To get started, contact us to book your Onsite Safety Consultation. Alternatively, browse our full range of safety solutions.

Fall Prevention Month: Changing the Narrative on Rooftop Safety

November marks Fall Prevention Month in Canada: an annual reminder that the safety of workers at height is a shared responsibility. Preventable falls remain a sobering reality, with rooftop environments presenting their own unique set of challenges. As Skyline Group delves into a month dedicated to fall prevention, we explore how building managers can combine awareness and action to transform the current narrative surrounding rooftop falls.

This important month reminds us that falls are not just accidents; they are a global concern that can lead to devastating outcomes. Some recent statistics highlight the importance in creating preventative strategies for hazards that can lead to a fall from heights:

Each fall is not just a statistic; it represents an individual whose life has been profoundly affected, along with their families. However, while these figures may seem daunting, the encouraging fact is that the vast majority of falls are preventable.

Changing the Narrative Through Awareness & Action

Whilst we all face a shared responsibility to maintain health and safety, building managers hold a pivotal role in preventing rooftop falls. One of the most effective tools in the fight against falls is the Hierarchy of Controls, highlighted in the infographic below.

 

At its core, the Hierarchy of Controls is a systematic approach to risk mitigation, emphasizing prevention as the cornerstone of safety. It categorizes control measures into five distinct levels, each building upon the other to create a comprehensive safety net.

In the fight against rooftop falls, real change can be achieved by integrating an understanding of this hierarchy with the implementation of a robust safety infrastructure. As you review each element of the safety hierarchy, take the time to think on how this methodology can be applied to your rooftop environment.

Hierarchy of Controls Explained

1. Elimination

At the highest level of the hierarchy of controls lies “Elimination.” This is the most comprehensive and effective approach to mitigating hazards in the workplace. In essence, elimination involves removing the hazard entirely, thereby removing the associated risks.

The principle of elimination aligns with the fundamental concept that the safest way to deal with a hazard is to make sure it no longer exists. In an ideal scenario, elimination results in a workplace where the hazard is no longer present, and consequently, no risk of harm remains.

While elimination is the most effective control measure, it’s also the most challenging to achieve. It often necessitates a fundamental rethinking of processes, systems and infrastructure. However, when successfully implemented, it offers unparalleled levels of safety and protection for workers.

While elimination is the most effective control measure, it may not always be achievable in every situation. In such cases, organizations must move down the hierarchy to consider other control measures like substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls, and personal protective equipment. Nevertheless, the pursuit of elimination should always be at the forefront of safety planning, as it represents the gold standard in risk reduction.

2. Substitution

Substitution is the next level in the hierarchy of controls when elimination is not feasible. It involves replacing a hazardous material, equipment, or process with a less hazardous alternative. The essence of substitution is to swap out the hazard for something safer, thereby reducing the risk to workers.

The process of substitution begins with a thorough assessment of the hazard, its associated risks, and the potential alternatives. It is crucial to ensure that the replacement is genuinely less hazardous and does not introduce new risks or hazards that may be equally or more harmful. Careful consideration must be given to assessing the comparative risk levels between the existing hazard and the proposed substitute.

Substitution can significantly enhance workplace safety by reducing the inherent risks associated with a particular task or process. However, it’s important to recognize that substitution may not always be straightforward, and careful consideration is required to ensure that the alternative is genuinely safer. When done correctly, substitution is an effective means of risk reduction, promoting a safer and healthier work environment for employees.

3. Engineering Controls

When elimination or substitution are not viable, engineering controls come into play. These can be physical changes to the rooftop environment that reduce the risk. They can also be process-driven. The safety solutions designed and installed on the rooftop separate the roof worker from nearby fall hazards. The solution is applied to the site of the hazard before the hazard comes into contact with the roof worker. By controlling the exposure of the hazard you are able to lessen its impact. Examples of engineering controls from a product based solution is the inclusion of roof guardrails, dedicated walkways, work platforms or non-slip surfaces to mitigate the potential fall hazard. The guardrail will not remove the fall hazard as you are still working on the rooftop, but it will create a fixed barrier between you and the hazard, ultimately separating you from it. Keep in mind that an important element of an engineered control system is that it does not rely on the worker to be trained like you would in order to use a fall protection lanyard.

  • Skyline recommends: Guardrails/Barriers and Access Ladders are the two most common inquiries. Designed to be robust and reliable, our guardrails and barriers create a formidable protective barrier, ensuring that rooftop perimeters and openings are safeguarded against falls. Meanwhile, our access ladders provide secure vertical access, a crucial engineering control in preventing falls during ascent and descent. Coupling these solutions with walkway and crossover systems/platforms, building owners can create safe passage while walking and working around the rooftop.

4. Administrative Controls

Beyond physical modifications, administrative controls focus on changing work practices and procedures. This might involve scheduling rooftop work during favorable weather conditions, implementing comprehensive training programs, and establishing clear protocols for rooftop access.

  • Skyline recommends: Hazard Reviews are a great means of understanding your roof layout. Our expert assessments and audits offer building managers valuable insights and recommendations. This service supports the development of effective administrative controls and policies to enhance rooftop safety. Aside from helping building managers create a comprehensive safety plan, our experts will assist in devising various procedures and policies on working safely on worktops or at heights. This not only enhances your administrative controls – it fosters a culture of safety throughout your organization. In our experience administrative controls should always be considered, even when engineering controls are in place it is never a bad idea to understand if improvements can be made to your work processes and procedures while on the rooftop.

5. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

PPE represents the last line of defence in the hierarchy, providing an extra layer of safety and a strong preventative measure against injury. It includes safety gear like harnesses, helmets, and safety glasses. While vital, PPE should not be the first or sole method of protection; it should complement other controls. For instance, in a scenario where a worker is maintaining a HVAC system near a roof edge that has a guardrail, the guardrail represents an engineered solution. However, PPE solutions such as gloves, helmets, high-vis vests and fall arrest systems (lanyards) can be combined with the guardrail to enhance the safety at the core of your rooftop operations. If we focus our attention to lanyards and fall arrest solutions, PPE is at the bottom of the hierarchy because it is only in use when a fall occurs. Nobody wants to test out their PPE, a roof worker would prefer not to fall at all, which is why it can be viewed as complementary.

  • Skyline recommends: PPE solutions need to be carefully reviewed, while taking into consideration the requirements of your work environment and the workers that use them. There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to PPE. Instead, it is crucial to work with your safety partner to identify opportunities where the addition of PPE can complement other safety controls. Whether through our Annual Inspection Service or our Lunch and Learn Training Program, Skyline’s experts are on-hand to review your rooftop environment, and recommend where PPE would be a vital solution.

Applying the Hierarchy of Controls on Your Rooftop

You might be asking yourself, “how can I use the hierarchy of controls in my application”? We recommend starting with identifying those hazards present on your rooftop. Once defined you want to spend time with your team and those that work on the rooftop, brainstorming how you can block the path between the worker and the hazard. One hierarchy at a time starting with elimination, you want to create a list of actions that should be taken to solve the hazard. Ideally, you want to list out all of the hazards and actions you could take within each hierarchy. When doing this activity, ask the team involved:

  • What are the benefits and disadvantages of each action within each hierarchy level?
  • Are the controls you are looking to set out even feasible? For example, substituting a chemical for a safer option may not be an option as it will alter the final product you are producing.
  • This is one that is often missed, but will this action create new unforeseen hazards? We don’t want to solve one hazard by creating a new one.

This process does take time, and you may require a quicker solution. If it will take time to implement one or many of the actions, use one or more of the lower hierarchy options to get started. For example, you may use PPE equipment while waiting for delivery and installation of the ‘engineered controls’ safety solution in order to urgently create a safer environment.

 

This Fall Prevention Month, Drive Positive Change

Looking for a worksheet to start from when applying the hierarchy of controls? Download our one-page template here to get started.

Safety is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and at Skyline Group, we provide tailored solutions to address the unique challenges of each rooftop environment. To start playing your own role in changing the narrative of rooftop safety, contact us for a complimentary consultation or browse our full range of safety solutions.

Safeguarding Against Slippery Surfaces in Fall: Skyline Safety Advice

With the fall season bringing an increased falling of leaves, heavier rainfall and higher levels of dew, property managers face a distinct rooftop safety challenge that often goes unnoticed – slippery surfaces. In the latest learning resource from Skyline Group, we explore how building operators can take steps to protect workers at height throughout this season.

The arrival of fall ushers in a unique set of environmental factors that can turn even the most well-maintained rooftops into treacherous terrain for workers at height. For property managers, the responsibility to protect these workers extends far beyond mere compliance with safety regulations. It’s a moral obligation and a commitment to safeguard the lives of those who inhabit and visit their properties.

 

A Season of Change, a Season of Risk

It is an unfortunate fact that slippery surfaces are a major occupational hazard for workers at height. It is also a fact that these are some of the most common and preventable causes of workplace accidents. In Ontario alone, each year more than 20% of lost time injuries to City employees are due to slips, trips and falls. Indeed, while injuries keep occuring, the figures keep rising.

With rooftop workers and other workers at height continuing to face a disproportionate level of risk during fall, how can property managers and building operators take real, meaningful steps to drive positive change? Let’s take a closer look…

 

Understanding how Roof Slope & Material can Increase Injury

One of the key factors in addressing slippery surfaces during the fall season is understanding the roof’s slope and material. A flat roof may accumulate more leaves and moisture, creating an increased risk of slips and falls. In contrast, a sloped roof might shed leaves more efficiently but presents its own set of challenges, especially near the edges.

Whilst there are several steps property managers can take to mitigate these risks, we’ve identified some of the essentials:

  • Drainage systems: Property managers can consider the installation of proper drainage systems to prevent water from pooling and leaves from accumulating.
  • Material choice: Employing slip-resistant roofing materials, which offer enhanced grip even in wet conditions, is a wise choice. The surface your workers walk on should be viewed as a first-line of defence and warrants some genuine consideration.
  • Slope protection: Understanding the slope of the roof is critical when designing safe access pathways and guardrail systems. Skyline Group offers a range of guardrails and barriers that can be customized to fit various roof configurations, ensuring safety while navigating slopes and edges.

 

The Significance of Roof Elevation

Rooftops often feature diverse elevations, creating potential tripping hazards and unstable surfaces. This risk is, of course, increased due to the seasonal risks brought about by fall, including fallen leaves, rain and dew. This is especially true when workers need to access different areas frequently or in locations with high foot traffic.

Here at Skyline Group, it is our view that safe pathways, guardrails, and proper signage become essential in such scenarios. Property managers can utilize walkways, crossover bridges and platforms to establish secure routes for workers. These pathways are designed to offer stability and traction, even during harsh weather.

By strategically placing these safety features, property managers can help workers navigate complex roof layouts with ease, reducing the risk of accidents caused by uneven surfaces or unexpected elevation changes.

 

Create a Culture of Safety

Beyond equipment and techniques, fostering a culture of safety is essential, particularly in the fall season. Below are some steps property managers can take to build a culture of safety:

  • Open communication: Property managers should encourage open communication about safety concerns and near misses. Regular safety training and reminders can reinforce safe climbing practices among workers.
  • Climbing techniques: Workers should be trained in safe climbing techniques, emphasizing the importance of maintaining three points of contact at all times. This means having two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand, in contact with the ladder or roof surface. Climbing should be deliberate and controlled, avoiding sudden movements or overreaching.
  • Training and certification: Ensure that workers are adequately trained and certified in ladder safety and rooftop access. Training programs should cover ladder usage, fall protection, hazard identification and emergency procedures.

 

Invest in Safety Infrastructure

Investing in the right safety infrastructure is crucial for addressing slippery surfaces in the fall season. Whilst provincial legislation varies in regards to stating what infrastructure is essential, we recommend guardrails and barriers thanks to their ability to create a protective perimeter. These installations are particularly effective in preventing accidental slips and falls near the roof’s edge, particularly when leaves and rain create hazardous conditions.

Properly designed guardrails are self-ballasted or anchored securely to the rooftop, ensuring stability and durability. Additionally, using brightly colored or reflective signage enhances visibility and reduces the likelihood of accidents.

Aside from guardrails and barriers, access ladders can play a significant role in addressing the slippery surfaces of fall. Access ladder rungs should feature anti-slip surfaces. These rungs are designed to provide workers with enhanced grip, even in wet or slippery conditions caused by fall foliage or rain. Additionally, safety cages can act as a protective barrier, preventing accidental falls and ensuring that workers maintain three points of contact during ascent or descent. At Skyline we like the use of lifeline ladders as they restrict you from falling, versus the barrier a caged ladder provides.

What safety features your rooftop needs depends on its layout and the range of operations that will be conducted. That’s where Skyline’s Rooftop Hazard Review Program comes in.

 

Conduct a Safety Review Analysis

Fall may bring added safety hazards, but it also presents opportunities. This season typically marks the off-peak period for most commercial buildings, making it the perfect time to conduct a comprehensive safety review. With Skyline Group as your partner, property managers can transform the challenges of fall into an opportunity to fortify their rooftop safety measures.

Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect when partnering with us:

  • On-site hazard assessment: Before our roof safety specialist arrives on-site, they will conduct a thorough review of your specific hazard requirements to ensure a streamlined assessment process. The duration of this assessment varies depending on the size and layout of your roof but typically spans from a few hours to half a day.
  • Hazard review report: This comprehensive report will include a detailed list of identified fall hazards, an overview of relevant regulations and standards that may be impacted, and expert recommendations for implementing safety solutions. To complement these insights, we provide a visual reference with photographs capturing various areas on your roof.
  • Safety and compliance made simple: The hazard review report isn’t just a document; it’s your essential guide to minimizing the risk of injuries on your rooftop. It outlines recommended actions for mitigating identified hazards, facilitating compliance with both federal and provincial safety regulations. Additionally, it serves as a valuable record for your yearly inspections, ensuring that your rooftop consistently adheres to the highest safety standards.
 

Stand Up for Workers at Height This Fall with Skyline Group

The arrival of fall should serve as a reminder to property managers that protecting against slippery surfaces is a safety essential. By proactively addressing these challenges and leveraging the expertise of Skyline Group, property managers can uphold their commitment to safety. Get started to creating a safer tomorrow, today! Contact us.

Roof Hatch Safety – Walmart Reviews Rooftops Across Canada

The Challenge

If a roof hatch is left open while service/maintenance is being conducted, it creates an unprotected opening. Creating a fall hazard.

The Solution

Generally, a fall greater than 3 meters where the hazard cannot be eliminated requires some form of fall protection, like a guardrail to protect workers from a fall hazard.

Walmart is one of Canada’s largest employers. And it is continually growing, by adding more services, including online shopping at Walmart.ca, home delivery, and pickup at stores, with many more locations on the horizon. Every day, the company works with more than 2,100 Canadian suppliers. Safety for customers, staff, and third-party vendors is paramount. This safety-driven culture led Walmart to schedule a site visit with a roofing consultant to better understand how to create a safer working environment on their rooftops.

Roof Hatch Safety: The Fall Hazard

Hatches for industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) buildings can pose a fall hazard because they provide access to the roof, most likely greater than 3 meters from the ground. An unexpected fall to the ground from the rooftop can be life-threatening. If the hatch is left open while service/maintenance is being conducted, it creates an unprotected opening. Thus, a fall through the hatch from the rooftop can be just as dangerous as a fall from the roof’s edge, as the floor below the hatch opening can be quite far from the rooftop. When navigating the rooftop, workers may be distracted and not realize that the roof hatch behind them has been left open. This proves true when working on a large project where multiple people are visiting or working on the roof.

Furthermore, the area around the hatch may not be adequately marked or protected, which can increase the risk of someone accidentally stepping into the opening or losing their balance while working near the hatch opening. This risk is particularly heightened when workers must access the roof frequently or in areas with high foot traffic as the chances of a hatch door being left open are higher.

It’s important to note that the Ontario Building Code – Industrial Establishments requires employers to provide fall protection for workers working at heights of 3 meters (approximately 10 feet) above a lower level. This can include using guardrails, safety nets, personal fall arrest systems, or other appropriate measures to prevent falls. So, how tall is your fixed hatch ladder? And do you have a safety solution to prevent a fall-related injury?

Roof Hatch Safety: Minimizing The Risk of a Fall Near a Roof Hatch

Generally, a fall greater than 3 meters where the hazard cannot be eliminated requires some form of fall protection, like a guardrail to protect the worker from danger. In addition, to minimize the risk of a misstep and a potential fall through the roof hatch, it is essential to:

  1. Review and assess where the hatch is installed on the roof. Surprisingly, hatches are often installed on an exterior wall, making the climb out of the hatch onto the roof hazardous as you may be near the roof’s edge.
  2. Ensure the hatch is installed correctly.
  3. Review the hatch’s ability to close and open easily.
  4. Verify that the hatch and connected ladder has remained intact and secured to the roof/wall.
  5. Additionally, facility maintenance teams and 3rd party workers should be trained to identify hazards associated with rooftop hatches and instructed on how to go about using the appropriate fall protection solutions.

Roof Hatch Safety: Barrier Solution Provides a Safe & Compliant Rooftop

With the help of a local roofing consultant, Walmart selected and specified the Skyline 5004 HatchBarrier solution with the addition of hatch grab bars. The galvanized steel hatch guardrail system provides a safe perimeter when roof workers and maintenance staff are on the roof with the hatch door open. The addition of hatch grab bars added an extra layer of safety, ensuring three points of contact when climbing the hatch ladder and stepping onto the roof. From an installation standpoint, everything about Skyline Group’s hatch barrier solution provided a quick and easy installation. In addition, its modular design allowed for easy and fast transport to the roof while making it possible to fasten the barrier to any roof hatch size.

On this rooftop, due to the hatch opening being placed near the roof’s edge, both Walmart and the consultant wanted to minimize concerns of a fall occurring due to a misstep while exiting the hatch onto the rooftop. As a result, the team also installed a non-penetrating safety rail of 10 feet in length, creating a protective barrier between the hatch and the rooftop’s edge. This would ensure that year-round, the proximity of the hatch to the edge of the rooftop would not pose any danger. With the safety rail being non-penetrating, the installation was quick and easy, with no repairs required to the roof membrane, as the safety rail was stabilized with weighted base plates.

Commercial Building Looking For Interior Access to The Rooftop

The Challenge

Utilizing a portable step ladder or extension ladder to climb through the hatch is simply not a long-term solution, or safe means of gaining access to the rooftop. It is important to ensure the user can maintain three points of contact throughout their climb, ensuring a safe and compliant working environment.

The Solution

For this roof safety project, the site’s small footprint made a standard fixed hatch ladder the clear option. After reviewing modular and fully welded steel options, the property manager selected the Skyline 7001 series hatch ladder system.

Gaining Interior Access to the Rooftop

The architect designing this commercial building in Montreal attended one of our complimentary lunch and learn sessions. The main objective of their learning session was to review common hazards in climbing to a sloped rooftop.

Contractors and building personnel requiring access to the rooftop are using a portable step ladder or extension ladder to climb through the roof hatch from the top floor. The architect and building owners wanted to create a safe and compliant means of accessing the roof via the hatch opening. There is a fixed outdoor caged wall ladder on the side of the building, although this solution wasn’t always an option during the winter months, as it would pose a potential fall risk. 

Why Install an Interior Roof Hatch Ladder

Installing a roof access hatch with a fixed ladder allows contractors and maintenance personnel easy access to the roof of the building. Ultimately, eliminating the safety risks that come with climbing an exterior wall ladder. Unlike outdoor roof access ladders, interior hatch ladders require little to no maintenance, while maintaining 24/7 restricted access to the rooftop.

Primarily utilizing a portable ladder to climb through the hatch is not a long-term solution, as it would result in personnel not maintaining three points of contact throughout their climb. It was also a dangerous solution, posing a fall risk when climbing up the portable ladder and stepping off it with equipment in hand.

Why Select a Modular Aluminum Hatch Ladder on Your Next Roof Access Project

For this roof safety project, the site’s small footprint made a standard fixed hatch ladder the clear option.

After reviewing modular and fully welded steel options, the property manager selected the Skyline 7001 series hatch ladder system. Both steel and aluminum hatch ladders would be compliant and offer safe access to the rooftop, although Skyline Group’s aluminum modular hatch ladders provided more than just roof safety compliance.

  • Its design allowed for flexibility, making it easy to install stiles in order to help in climbing out of the hatch onto the rooftop. These extensions/stiles extend past the roof hatch door, ensuring three points of contact and a handle to grab onto while stepping off the last step of the fixed hatch ladder onto the rooftop.
  • When compared to a welded or steel option, the aluminum ladder was easy to transport to the top floor and rooftop.
  • An easy and quick installation helped in reducing labour costs and overall budget requirements.
  • The serrated rungs ensure a safe climb every time.
  • Its aluminum finish keeps the ladder looking new, as it is located in an area that will receive a lot of employee foot traffic. In addition, unlike steel ladders, no maintenance is required over time to keep the aluminum ladder looking new. 

Looking to understand how you can ensure safe rooftop access? Connect with our team of safety specialists today to learn more about the hazards that are present on your rooftop.

Large Flat Commercial Rooftop Introduces a Roofline System

The Challenge

With the rooftop having multiple RTUs (rooftop units), the facility maintenance team wanted to install a solution that would help warn roof workers that they are approaching a hazard.

The Solution

After we conducted a virtual tour of their rooftop, our roof safety specialists recommended a RoofLine system. It is a free-standing roof delineator system to be used as a bumpline or warning line on a roof where access is required; however, close access to the roof edge is not a must.

Large Flat Commercial Rooftop Introduces a Roofline System

Companies like Amazon and IKEA are building and operating some of the largest warehouses to support the needs of consumers. As a result, we are seeing some of the largest commercial flat roofs being built, with the square footage of these rooftops getting larger every year. No matter the size, working on a roof is dangerous and poses a fall risk. We sometimes think that the larger rooftops are less dangerous as you have more space to conduct maintenance, but that’s not entirely true. It’s not the size of the flat commercial roof but where you are working in proximity to the edge of it that dictates how dangerous it is. With larger roofs you might also discover areas where personnel aren’t allowed access without approval, hence requiring a warning line system directing them away from the unauthorized area. During the winter months, hazards can also become invisible, such roof hazards include skylights or the edge of the roof not being visible due to the snow and ice overhanging a foot out from the edge.

Roof Hazard Review

For this commercial building, it all started with a roof safety and hazard review. With the rooftop having multiple RTUs (rooftop units), the facility maintenance team wanted to install a solution that would help warn roof workers that they are approaching a hazard. Ultimately, creating a safety perimeter on their roof to help ensure roof workers remain on the recommended walkway. If a roof worker were approved to go beyond the perimeter to maintain an RTU, then they would have been protected by a nearby fixed guardrail. This warning solution would also have to be visible during the winter months when most of the roof and its hazards are covered in snow.

Creating A Safe Perimeter with a RoofLine System

After we conducted a virtual tour of their rooftop, our roof safety specialists recommended a RoofLine system. It is a free-standing roof delineator system to be used as a bumpline or warning line on a roof where access is required; however, close access to the roof edge is not a must. The system keeps subcontractors from getting too close to the roof edge, essentially creating a visibly safe perimeter on your rooftop. Doing so can also avoid the requirement to install a permanent guardrail at the edge of the roof, making the RoofLine a cost-effective safety measure. With the warehouse expanding to meet the growing needs of its customers, it was also crucial that the system be modular. Making it quick and easy to expand their roof safety program.

Conestoga Cold Storage Creates a Safe Rooftop With a Non-Penetrating Safety Guardrail

The Challenge

On this flat commercial rooftop the HVAC system is slightly more than 6 feet away from the roof’s edge, creating a fall hazard while maintaining the HVAC system.

The Solution

Both penetrating and non-penetrating systems will keep roof workers safe while working on a commercial flat roof, minimizing the risk of injury. Our modular aluminum self-ballasted roof safety guardrail systems were specified due to their ease of installation and robust build.

Conestoga Cold Storage Creates a Safe Rooftop With a Non-Penetrating Safety Guardrail

Serving customers from across Canada and around the world, Conestoga operates five automated cold storage warehouses with a total storage volume of over 64 million cubic feet which provides fully computerized warehouse facilities, distribution centres, and a chain of cross docks that enable them to deliver product efficiently from coast to coast. This combination results in dependable service across the country.

Living A Safety First Culture

The consultant working with Conestoga’s Western Canada team recommended a review of the rooftop prior to them taking ownership of their new building. The review was made up of walking the same path as a facility maintenance worker would in gaining safe access to the rooftop, while ensuring a safe environment on the roof where routine maintenance occurs. Skyline’s team of roof safety specialists assisted the consultant and Conestoga in reviewing the building’s rooftop safety requirements.

HVAC Roof Safety Guardrail

On this flat roof the HVAC system is slightly more than 6 feet away from the roof’s edge, so why would a safety solution be required? When a member of the facility maintenance team or a third-party service crew is required to be on the roof, they need to travel and work in an environment that is within 6 feet from the roof’s edge. When taking into consideration one’s tools and the need to work from all angles of the HVAC system, you are physically too close to a fall hazard. As a result, Skyline Group recommended an aluminum non-penetrating roof safety guardrail system that would act as a permanent safety solution. Ensuring, regardless of where you are working around the HVAC system, the risk of a fall is eliminated.

Why Use a Non-Penetrating Roof Safety Guardrail

Both penetrating and non-penetrating systems will keep roof workers safe while working on a commercial flat roof, minimizing the risk of injury. The modular aluminum self-ballasted roof safety guardrail systems were selected by Conestoga due to the following:

  • Being a self-ballasted non-penetrating system meant that there was no need to fasten the roof safety guardrail to the brand-new rooftop. Eliminating the need for the roof to be resealed from potential water leaks, and increase labor costs.
  • Its modular design brought various advantages;
    • Easy and quick installation.
    • When compared to a welded solution, the modular system was extremely easy to transport to the rooftop.
    • Its design allowed for flexibility, as the roof evolves with time so will the safety guardrail solution.
  • Its aluminum material ensures that the unit will not corrode during the harsh winter months.
  • Due to roof load requirements, this aluminum guardrail also minimized the strain that would be placed on the roof.
  • With the roof safety guardrail system requiring less time to transport and install on-site, the project was also completed under budget and on time.

Looking to understand how you can ensure a safe and compliant rooftop? Connect with our team of safety specialists for your complimentary safety lunch and learn session.

A Roof Crossover Closes The Gap Between Two Flat Roof Buildings

The Challenge

Accessing adjacent rooftops for maintenance became time-consuming as personnel were required to climb up two roof access ladders to review both rooftops.

The Solution

After a virtual review of the flat roof, Skyline Group recommended a customized crossover system to close the gap between the two rooftops.

A Roof Crossover Closes The Gap Between Two Flat Roof Buildings

It is not uncommon to find two separate buildings, adjacent to one another separated by a few feet, and owned by the same company. Sometimes we don’t have the opportunity to grow our building footprint on the current land we own, but instead purchase the adjacent building to allow for further growth. This gap in building elevations can also occur when your flat roof has various elevations, creating a fall hazard from each rooftop.

Commercial Flat Rooftops

This telecommunications company has two offices adjacent to one another in Saskatchewan. Accessing both rooftops for maintenance became time-consuming as personnel were required to climb up via the Skyline roof access ladder to review one of the rooftops. While descending and climbing the adjacent rooftop for further maintenance. The company recognized that joining the two roof levels with a stair and walkway would provide a quicker and safer means of accessing both roofs. This would ultimately reduce time and related labour costs when looking to maintain the rooftops

skylight safety
skylight safety

Rooftop Crossover & Bridge System

After a virtual review of the flat roof, Skyline Group recommended a customized crossover system to close the gap between the two rooftops. The system would include a welded aluminum walkway with aluminum guardrails to ensure a safe and compliant roof walkway, while including a toe board to reduce the risk of a tool falling from the roof.

Why a Penetrating Crossover & Bridge System

Both penetrating and non-penetrating crossover systems will keep roof workers safe while travelling from one rooftop to the next. And are considered compliant with all height safety standards. Our modular aluminum fixed crossover solution was the preferred choice, due to the following:

  • The flexible design of the supports allows for multiple options when mounting to the roof. Due to the large span, this crossover was fixed to raised curbs for added strength and durability.
  • Its lightweight modular design brought various advantages, such as;
    • Easy and quick installation (no welding required on-site).
    • Pre-set railing and rung heights to ensure safety compliance during installation.
    • When compared to a welded solution, this system was flat-packed and easy to transport to the rooftop.
    • Its design allowed for flexibility, integrating a toe board for increased safety.
  • Its aluminum construction is non-corrosive, ensuring extended longevity and very little maintenance.
  • The aluminum grated walkway created a grippy surface year-round, minimizing the build-up of snow, ice, and debris.
  • No painting or galvanizing is required for an aluminum solution, resulting in a shorter lead time and minimal required maintenance.
  • The lightweight aluminum structure required less time to transport and install on-site, reducing the overall cost of the project.

“Once we received the bridge we installed per the design. During the final review the client was impressed at the design and the installation”

Roofing Contractor

An Upgraded HVAC System Requires Improved Rooftop Safety

The Challenge

There is a misconception at times that a smaller rooftop can be easier to maintain and gain safe access to. One challenge amongst all rooftops with a limited footprint is that many of the HVAC units, and other RTUs, are within 6 feet of the roof’s edge.

The Solution

The Trail office in British Columbia purchased two 5001 RoofBarrier systems; one straight 30-foot linear section with 4-foot outriggers and one 20’ x 25’ L section with 4-foot outriggers.

An Upgraded HVAC System Requires Improved Rooftop Safety

Safety Culture

TELUS is a dynamic, world-leading communications technology company providing wireless, data, IP, voice, television, entertainment, video, and security services. Their long-standing commitment to putting customers first fuels every aspect of their business, making them distinct in customer service excellence and loyalty.

Requiring Safe Access to A Small Rooftop

There is a misconception at times that a smaller rooftop can be easier to maintain and gain safe access to. One challenge amongst all rooftops with a limited footprint is that many of the HVAC units, and other RTUs, are within 6 feet of the roof’s edge. Thus, requiring a permanent guardrail or barrier to be installed to prevent the risk of a height-related injury. With Telus looking to upgrade its HVAC system, an updated safety solution was required.
roofbarrier rooftop guardrail system

Improved Rooftop Safety With A Guardrail System

Due to our knowledge and experience in providing height safety solutions that meet the communication industry’s needs, our team of safety specialists were consulted. The Trail office in British Columbia purchased two 5001 RoofBarrier systems; one straight 30-foot linear section with 4-foot outriggers and one 20’ x 25’ L section with 4-foot outriggers. Here is what made our roof barrier and guardrail system the primary choice for this site.

 

  • The 5001 RoofBarrier is a modular solution, making it quick and easy to install and transport to the roof.
  • The safety guardrail is manufactured in galvanized steel, minimizing the risk of corrosion.
  • With our roof safety solutions being stocked and ready to ship, we were able to meet the contractor’s timeline to install the upgraded HVAC system.
  • Our non-penetrating self-ballasted solution meant that the roof membrane would not require repairs. On the other hand, with a fixed guardrail, once the installation is complete you need to re-seal the area to ensure there are no potential water leaks that were made by the screws and fasteners.

All in all our self-ballasted roof guardrail solution saved both the contractor and end-user time and money.

The Toronto Transit Commission Ensures Safe Access to Rooftop Units

The Challenge

The Toronto Transit Commission was looking to not only ensure rooftop safety compliance but take all safety precautions that would reduce the risk of a rooftop related injury.

The Solution

After a review of the rooftop access points and those rooftop units that require routine maintenance by the TTC. Skyline Group proposed a safety solution that ensured a safe walkway, including a guardrail system, manufactured in aluminum.

The Toronto Transit Commission Ensures Safe Access to Rooftop Units

Toronto Transit Commission

The Toronto Transportation Commission (TTC) assumed responsibility for municipal transit services in the City of Toronto on September 1, 1921. This began an era of consolidation and expansion that accompanied and accelerated the astonishing growth of Toronto as a city. The TTC has played an important role in Toronto’s past and as we look ahead, it is exciting to think about how they are shaping the city’s future.

ensuring roof safety & compliance

The Toronto Transit Commission was looking to not only ensure rooftop safety compliance but take all safety precautions that would reduce the risk of a rooftop related injury. With the TTC having a safety-first culture, they reached out to the Skyline Group after conducting a self-rooftop safety assessment to review various hazards and related height safety solutions. Today’s industrial and commercial rooftops can quickly become crowded with various units sitting on the roof. When reviewing rooftop safety concerns, safety personnel are looking at how an employee or third-party contractor would go about approaching such rooftop units safely, for routine inspection and maintenance. These units come in various sizes and as such can be covered by regular snowfall during Toronto’s winter months. As a result, it is important to ensure that there is safe passage in and around these units year-round, reducing the risk of someone tripping over a duct system or stepping into a snow-covered skylight. This is no different at the TTC facility. When reviewing their rooftop HVAC systems, Skyline was tasked to ensure safe passage to each system, while enabling the maintenance team to be safe while working at heights. The criteria to be met fell into two categories: compliance and design.

 

Compliance Requirements
  • Platforms, stairs and guardrails designed to comply with all applicable loads, including OBC Part 3, OBC Part 4 and OSHA Reg. 851 S.14.
  • Platforms and stairs designed for a concentrated live load capacity of 1.3 kN and distributed live load capacity of 1.5 kPa.
  • Guardrails designed for a concentrated live load capacity of 1.0kN, compliant with OBC 4.1.5.14(b).
  • Total dead load of system not to exceed 0.5 kPa.
  • Dead load (0.5 kPa) plus live load (1.5 kPa) of platforms, guardrails, and stairs onto existing roof not to exceed 2.0 kPa, unfactored.
  • Dead load plus live load (2.0 kPa) of platforms, stairs, and guardrails not to exceed a maximum concentrated load onto the existing roof of 1.3kN. Achieved by having support posts on 600mm centres, max.
Design Requirements
  • Customization capabilities as some of the rooftop units are not standard in size.
  • Modular in design and installation.
  • Lightweight while still being robust to support the load requirements.
  • A permanent walkway, guardrail, platform and crossover solution.
  • Made of long-lasting anti-corrosive material.
  • Must meet a strict and short delivery time.
Roof Guardrail
Safety Roof Ladder
Walkway with Guardrail

Making Roof Safety & Compliance Easy

After a review of the rooftop access points and those rooftop units that require routine maintenance by the TTC. Skyline Group proposed a safety solution that ensured a safe walkway, including a guardrail system, manufactured in aluminum. This reduced the chance of a slip during the winter months, while offering a safe and secure platform to work from. The high-quality aluminum also offered corrosion protection for 10+ years. A crossover solution helped the facilities maintenance team safely walk and work at heights while on the roof. With the height safety solution being modular and made of aluminum, the general contractor was able to transport the units with ease. The savings in labor alone reduced the budget requirements for installation, enabling the opportunity for the general contractor to work on other rooftop-related projects for the TTC. This customized roof safety solution was not only under budget, but met strict deadlines.

roof railing

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