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.

Public School Creates a Safe Roof Environment Meeting Ontario TSSA Safety Requirements

The Challenge

TSSA gas technician to raise a concern that the units were located on a sloped surface that would make it difficult to ensure a safe working environment.

The Solution

The rooftop safety solution consisted of a walkway with guardrail and platform system starting at the roof hatch, up the slope of the building, down the roof to three RTUs (HVAC systems).

Huron Centennial Public School

The Avon Maitland District School Board is a full-service, public, English school district in southwestern Ontario, bordering Lake Huron and covering some of the most productive agricultural lands in Canada. It covers the counties of Huron and Perth, with over 160,000 people calling the Avon Maitland District their home. Huron Centennial Public School is one of the schools in this district and is located on 30-plus acres of property in rural Ontario. It is a kind, caring, and compassionate school community with a dedicated, supportive, and professional staff. Their unique natural setting allows students many opportunities to extend their learning outdoors. They have grown to 16 classrooms, including three full-day learning classrooms with teacher/early childhood educator teams.

A Visit from the Ontario TSSA

With the interior of the building undergoing renovations, there was a requirement to update the rooftop units (RTUs). This update to the rooftop units yielded a TSSA gas technician to raise a concern that the units were located on a sloped surface that would make it difficult to ensure a safe working environment. TSSA then notified the consultant that a leveled walkway system to the rooftop units, including handrails and guardrails as well as steps to traverse the slope, would suffice in creating safe access to the RTUs, while creating a compliant working environment.
  • That a permanent guardrail solution will be designed, built, and installed to meet the requirements of section 14 of Ontario Regulation 851 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • The method of securing the guardrail assembly to the building.
  • The design details of the guardrail layout.
  • The drawings are also required to show:
    • A plan/view of the roof.
    • The location of the appliances, appliance panels, new guardrails, or barriers on the roof.
    • That the distance from any open end of the guardrail to the gas-fired HVAC system will be a minimum of 6 feet from the roof’s edge, and that the service clearances are maintained year-round with safe passage.
With the commercial rooftop having a steep slope with no standing seam, Huron Centennial was looking for a team of height safety experts to review their rooftop and conduct a rooftop safety audit, providing a safety solution that surpasses TSSA’s safety requirements.

Solution: Customized Rooftop Guardrail & Walkway System

After discussing the project with their current safety supplier and the potential solution with TSSA, Huron Centennial started searching for a safety partner that would have the design specifications and safety experience to meet their needs. The facility maintenance team at Huron Centennial selected our design and modular solution based on the following;
  • Skyline Group’s extensive experience with meeting and surpassing TSSA’s safety requirements.
  • Quick turnaround on providing a solution that includes engineered stamped drawings, in order to schedule maintenance ASAP with TSSA.
  • Modular solution, making customizing the guardrail and walkway system to meet their needs easy, with no increased lead times.
  • All products, and any customization, is available locally in Perth Ontario. Ensuring a quick turnaround from order to delivery.
  • While the system’s modular design made this custom solution possible, it also drastically reduced the installation time and labor costs. Reducing the required budget for this project.
  • With the solution being manufactured in lightweight aluminum, transporting the material to the roof was quick and easy.
  • Finally, our experience and reputation working with various Canadian school boards made us the preferred vendor.
The rooftop safety solution consisted of a walkway with guardrail and platform system starting at the roof hatch, up the slope of the building, down the roof to three RTUs (HVAC systems). This custom solution created a safe year-round path to and from the rooftop units, with the platforms also providing a safe working environment, away from any potential fall hazard.

Reaching New Heights with a Modular Aluminum Access Ladder

The Challenge

When 3rd party contractors and maintenance teams were looking to access the roof section that houses the school’s gym, easy and safe access to that elevated section wasn’t available.

The Solution

Skyline Group reviewed the building designs and recommended a modular aluminum roof access ladder to ensure a safe and compliant climb to the rooftop.

Montreal High School Takes Safety to New Heights

Visitors who walk through the doors of Louis-Joseph-Papineau high school, located in the Saint-Michel district of Montreal, quickly notice the warm and friendly atmosphere. At Louis-Joseph-Papineau, students are expected to devote themselves to their studies and participate in various committees and  extracurricular activities. Therefore, the school constantly seeks to adapt to the needs and expectations of students by offering them stimulating learning tools.

Various Elevations in Roof Design

Like many rooftops, the Louis-Joseph-Papineau high school has multiple elevations in their design/layout. When 3rd party contractors and maintenance teams were looking to access the roof section that houses the school’s gym, easy and safe access to that elevated section wasn’t available. The roofing contractor, who had previously worked with Skyline Group on various projects, inquired about our line of aluminum roof access ladders.

Safe Roof Access with an Aluminum modular Ladder

The height safety specialists at Skyline Group reviewed the building designs and recommended a modular aluminum roof access ladder to ensure a safe and compliant climb to the rooftop. The specified solution met both the contractor’s and the school’s requirements.

  • Surpassed both national and local safety standards and regulations.
  • Its aluminum structure and modular design made installation quick and easy.
  • The aluminum material ensured that the ladder would remain looking new for years to come. In addition, unlike a steel ladder, an aluminum ladder doesn’t require maintenance to ensure its coating remains intact. Contemplating selecting an aluminum roof access ladder versus a steel roof access ladder?
  • The ladder platform adds a layer of safety when stepping off the ladder, with the guardrails creating a safe perimeter to ensure a firm footing.
  • The ladder and its components were stocked in our Ontario warehouse, making a quick turnaround possible. In addition, with the ladder and its components being manufactured in aluminum, there was no need to delay the delivery to have the ladder coated or painted with a protective layer.

Mohawk College Solves Tomorrow’s Height Safety Concerns Today

The Challenge

With the solar panels covering much of the roof, personnel must walk within 6 feet of the roof’s edge to access multiple sections of the rooftop.

The Solution

The RoofBarrier 5001 series will meet the college’s growing rooftop safety needs, allowing for a flexible solution that will not penetrate the roof membrane.

Mohawk College Solves Tomorrow’s Height Safety Concerns Today

A Leader Among Ontario's Colleges

Mohawk College is a leader among Ontario’s colleges. Deeply rooted in the local community and the present demands, they have a global perspective that addresses the needs of the future. Transforming the educational experience is at the core of Mohawk! They have honed their expertise in the technologies shaping the world and building a better and more inclusive tomorrow — artificial intelligence, robotics, augmented and virtual reality, biotechnology, digital health and cybersecurity, to name a few. Students strive and grow with various applied learning opportunities facilitated both on and off campus. For example, the video you see below was created by Mohawk students looking to gain experience and get creative in showcasing their rooftop safety solutions.
 

As an inclusive college, Mohawk benefits from the diversity of thoughts, experiences, skills and talents of its students, faculty, staff, and administrators. They focus on creating an environment that reflects all identities, where every student belongs, is welcome and has a voice.

Solar Panel Safety

In the same manner that the Mohawk College is working towards finding creative ways to prepare their students for tomorrow’s needs, their facility maintenance team is constantly striving for improved safety for students, faculty, and service providers. With such a large rooftop, ensuring a safe environment is essential for the college. As the campus and facilities grow, the rooftop will tend to get busier with the latest technology to support the advancements impacting the students and staff.

Mohawk is the first Ontario college to get a STARS® Gold Rating for sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). This is partly due to the 100+ solar panels you will find on the college’s various rooftops. With the solar panels covering much of the roof, personnel must walk within 6 feet of the roof’s edge to access multiple sections of the rooftop. With the solar panels being so close to the roof’s edge, when maintenance is required, the working environment of the service personnel would pose a potential fall hazard. The facility maintenance team knew that anytime you are within 6 feet of a fall from a rooftop, you need a height safety solution.

Safety Roof Ladder

"I have worked with Skyline Group for a few years and have always had a great experience from working with the sales team to the team in production. The products have always been in stock and were ready to ship once the shop drawings were signed off. The safety guardrails are quick and easy to assemble."

Non-Penetrating Guardrail System

The facility maintenance team reached out to the rooftop safety specialists at Skyline Group to better understand their needs and the available solutions. The Mohawk team was looking for a solution that was:

  • Quick and easy to install
  • Stocked ready to ship
  • Non-penetrating, eliminating the need to penetrate the roof membrane, which would require further repairs and costs to reseal those areas of the roof.
  • Compliant with Ontario height safety regulations and standards
  • Protected against corrosion during the winter months

As a result, the Skyline Group recommended their RoofBarrier 5001 series, as it would meet the college’s growing rooftop safety needs.

 

roof railing

TÉLÉCHARGER

Ce site est protégé par reCAPTCHA et le Google Politique de confidentialité et Conditions d’utilisation  appliquer.
roof railing

DOWNLOAD

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

DOWNLOAD

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

DOWNLOAD

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.