(WTNH) — After two fatal falls in Massachusetts, the US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is urging people to take extra caution while clearing the snow off their roofs.
OSHA says to make sure you are aware of nearby skylights and aerial lifts on your roof when you are clearing it. In Massachusetts, two people died. One person fell from a rooftop, the other fell through a skylight.
Here are some tips to prevent snow falls:
- Using snow removal methods that do not involve workers going on roofs, when and where possible.
- Evaluating loads exerted on roof or structure (e.g., total weight of snow, workers and equipment used), compared to the load limit of the roofs
- Requiring that workers use fall protection equipment.
- Ensuring that workers use ladders and aerial lifts safely.
Before snow starts to accumulate, OSHA says it is important to think about what will be needed to safely remove snow from roofs or other elevated surfaces. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Can snow be removed without workers going onto the roof?
- Are there any hazards on the roof that might become hidden by the snow and need to be marked so that workers can see them (skylights, roof drains, vents, etc.)?
- How should the snow be removed, based on the building’s layout, to prevent unbalanced loading?
- What are the maximum load limits of the roof and how do they compare with the estimated total weight of snow, snow-removal equipment, and workers on the roof?
- What tools, equipment, protective devices, clothing and footwear will workers need?
- What type of fall protection will be used to protect workers on roofs and other elevated surfaces?
- What training will workers need to work safely?
- How will mechanized snow removal equipment be safely elevated to the roof?
- How will you protect people on the ground from snow and ice falling off the roof during removal operations?
In Canton, Massachusetts, police say a man died when he fell through a skylight on building’s roof.
Canton police say the man was one of two people on the roof assessing snow removal needs when he walked across a skylight covered by snow and fell about 40 feet to the ground. It happened just before 5 p.m. Sunday.
It was the second fatal roof fall in town in a week. A man died last Wednesday after falling from the roof of a commercial building while clearing snow.