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The hidden dangers with atrium skylights

Atrium skylights are a popular choice for many shopping centres. They have the power to transform the ambiance of commercial spaces and they are energy efficient too. But amongst the numerous benefits are also downfalls – like the need for regular cleaning. This alone poses workplace safety problems that you might not be aware of. 

What you might not know about atrium skylights

Atrium skylights can tower above the ground at considerable heights. But despite this, none of them are rated for fall prevention. This presents huge risks to those who navigate around them while on the roof. As they are often in the path of aircon and gutter access, they are an everyday risk to maintenance workers.  

One of the big problems is complacency. People don’t consider skylights a hazard because they are raised and appear to be sturdy. Wrong!

Safety issues to highlight to your teams 

Falls through glass skylights are possible – near-misses are not uncommon.

We’re aware of incidents where people have fallen through, put a leg through, or tripped and cracked the glass, and it’s a worrying statistic.

Due to ongoing access for gutters, cleaning, aircon maintenance, and bird nesting prevention, people are up on the roofs frequently, and it’s just a matter of time before accidents happen.

Raise workplace safety awareness with zoning plans

We recently created zoning plans for the roof of a local shopping centre. These plans serve as a guide for anyone who accesses the roof to alert them to the potential surrounding dangers.

With a simple RAG rating system, Red, Amber and Green zones indicate the areas of danger, with red being the most dangerous. Red zones are typically marked out within 2m of the building’s edge. But also marked as red zones are areas within 2m of skylights – areas people don’t naturally perceive as unsafe.

You can help your maintenance workers become more risk-aware while working, with smart zoning plans.

What to look out for with skylight wear and tear…

Skylights made from fibreglass become more brittle the longer they are on the roof. This is down to weathering and the sun’s rays that break down the plastics.

Atrium skylights have panels that also crack from exposure to the sun overtime, and seals might need replacing to maintain the skylight’s integrity.

Regular roof / skylight inspections are a must when it comes to keeping shoppers and maintenance workers safe.  

Don’t get called out on safety concerns

Atrium designs allow the general public to see workers, spot safety issues, and flag them with authorities. 

Escalators often look right up into those atriums and the last thing you need is to be called out on safety concerns from shoppers.

We’ve received phone calls from the general public because compliance plates are not certified – there’s always someone watching.

Whose responsibility is skylight safety anyway?

The Covid excuse doesn’t hold anymore, neither does complacency – check that your systems have been certified. 

–          “It’s the contractors job to do it safely”

Where you expect a safe job as standard from your contractors, the reality is that the owner of the building is the one that owns the risk.  

–          “It’s the tenant’s responsibility” 

If you spot a safety concern, don’t wait until it’s too late – find it, fix it, or report it.

If you need risk assessments or maintenance inspections on your shopping centre, give us a call. We’ll give you peace of mind around your atrium skylights and workplace safety concerns to help keep everyone safe!

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