At nearly all roofing job sites, rooftop access presents concerns for roofing contractors. One common building component for rooftop access that can be particularly problematic is a roof hatch.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one-third of the 680 occupational fatalities reported in 2008 involved falls from roofs or ladders. And falls through roof openings and skylights continue to result in fatalities. A roof hatch can combine ladder use (fixed or portable) and a roof opening.
When your employees are accessing a rooftop by means of a roof hatch, you must recognize that a hatch's design and condition and the available means to access it can result in increased fall exposures, and appropriate precautions must be taken.