December 2008

Roof Hatch Basics

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Learn how to choose a roof hatch and comply with applicable safety regulations

by Michael Toohey
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Most commercial buildings require access to their rooftops to maintain HVAC or other rooftop-mounted equipment. Although there are several ways to access roof areas, the most common way is to use roof hatches. Roof hatches provide direct access to rooftop areas and are designed with many features and options to ensure safe access for maintenance workers and weatherproof performance for building owners.

When working with roof hatches, it is important to know about basic roof hatch specifications, including hatch selection considerations, and the various options available. Also, being familiar with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) fall-protection regulations for roof openings that pertain to roof hatches, specifically 29 CFR 1910.23, "Guarding floor and wall openings and holes," as well as several safety options and penalties for noncompliance, is necessary to keep workers safe on job sites.

Size matters

Roof hatches are available in a wide range of sizes. There are numerous factors to consider when selecting a hatch size for a particular application. First, determine whether the hatch will be used simply to gain access to a roof or whether it is needed to install or remove...

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