Skylights are light-transmitting structures placed on roofs that allow sunlight to enter commercial and residential buildings. They make buildings more energy efficient by letting in substantially more sunlight than vertical windows can alone. Skylights are widely used throughout the United States: according to the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, there are approximately 275,000 commercial unit skylights sold every year in the United States.
There are multiple types of skylights, including but not limited to:
- Fixed skylights are fixed to the roof and cannot open or provide airflow. A majority of the time, fixed skylights are made primary of glass with a steel, aluminum, or timber frame.
- Ventilated skylights open to add air ventilation and light into the house. Often used in kitchens and bathrooms, they also help to remove moisture in the air and provide a steady flow of fresh air into the area.
- Tubular skylights are tube-shaped devices that capture sunlight through a rooftop lens and reflective-lined tube. The three main components of tubular skylights, the dome, tube, and diffuser, are more compact than other skylights. This makes them less expensive, easier to install, and usable on smaller roofs.
- Custom skylights, which vary in shape in size, are used on roofs that common skylights cannot accommodate. They are manufactured to fit the specific dimensions of the particular roof they will be installed on.
Falls Through Skylights Are Deadly
Falling is one of the leading causes of traumatic occupational death in the United States, accounting for nearly 40% of construction worker deaths in 2017. This statistic includes a number of falls through unprotected skylights.
The glass or plastic that is used on most skylights is not designed to withstand the weight of a human being. This makes them a serious occupational hazard for those who work in fields that have regular access to flat or low-sloped roofs, such as building maintenance, roofing, HVAC, electrical, plumbing, and telecommunications personal. The AAMA estimates that there are more than 120,000 roofers alone who are at risk of falling through a skylight at work.
The level of danger that comes with working near skylights cannot be taken lightly. In fact, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has a comprehensive list of 907 fall-through accidents involving skylights dating back to 1983, most of which were fatal. Tragically, all of these falls could have been avoided with proper safety measures in place.
The experienced personal injury attorneys at Barnes Trial Group know how to fight on behalf of seriously injured or deceased clients and win. If you or someone you know has fallen through a skylight, reach out to Barnes Trial Group today at (813) 251-0777 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.