24 Jan Safety Features Of Roof Access Hatches
Gaining access to a roof from inside the building can be safer and more convenient than doing so from the exterior. This can be achieved by installing a roof access hatch, which can reduce the risk of falls and increase the ease of bringing items and equipment onto the roof. It can also allow workers to enter suspended ceilings and reach fire extraction systems, air conditioning and heating ducting, and ventilation features.
When roof access hatches are installed and maintained properly, they can enable workers to carry out their jobs more effectively, which can mean productivity is improved, deadlines are fulfilled, and the danger of roof work is better controlled.
For these goals to be reached, roof access hatches must follow certain regulations and guidelines, otherwise they can become a fall hazard themselves.
At Australian Height Safety Services, we are experienced and equipped to help you understand and achieve what is required.
Factors To Consider
When installing and maintaining roof access hatches, there are several aspects to keep in mind. Being aware of these can enable you to ensure the correct safety measures are put in place.
Access hatches can be subjected to the weather, debris, and mould, which can reduce their functionality and cause them to become dangerous. There are ways to avoid this, such as the use of reliable and durable materials during installation and regular maintenance. Any physical damage, such as from equipment, should be fixed promptly.
Only people who are trained and are required to access the roof should be able to use the hatch. This can be achieved by installing security devices and by providing education.
Safety guidelines require any rooftop opening, including roof access hatches, to have guardrails in place. Netting and personal fall equipment are not approved when it comes to roof access hatches.
The area in which the ladder or steps are is generally not classed as an exposed side if the opened door is high enough. AHSS can assess your hatch and guide you regarding what is required.
Distance To The Roof Edge
The proximity of the access hatch to the side of the roof determines the need for guardrails. Measurements depend on local requirements, which we can help you understand.
Types of Roof Access Hatch Features
There are several safety features that can be installed to reduce the risks that access hatches may pose and to improve their functionality. These can include the following:
When the access hatch is open, there is an obvious risk of someone falling into it as they move around the roof. An offset railing or bar ensures people can safely navigate the area while still being able to enter the open hatch.
Exterior And Interior Locks
Locking mechanisms can secure the door and make sure that unauthorised people do not use it. This reduces the risk of people entering the building and carrying out unwanted or criminal activity, and prevents accidents caused by a lack of knowledge, experience, and skill regarding how to use the hatch or be on the roof.
Automatic Hold-Open Latches And Hinged Or Sliding Mechanisms
These devices allow the hatch door to be kept open. This avoids the door accidentally shutting and trapping a worker on the roof, or causing injury as people pass through the hatch. The choice of which to use depends on the preference regarding how much control or simplicity is involved.
Gas-Charged Opening Devices
Installing a gas-charged opening devices avoids the need for both hands to be used to open the hatch door. This enables workers to keep one hand free, making it easier and safer to open.
Built Into The Roof
When access hatches are correctly installed, they should match the slope of the roof and have a low profile to increase the ease and decrease the risk of moving up and down from the roof.
Improve Roof Access And Safety With A Hatch
When work is required on and in a roof, monitoring safety is paramount as the falls risk is high. Installing a roof access hatch can mean that workers do not need to climb up onto the roof from the side of the building, avoiding the danger involved in that process and improving the ability to bring tools and resources onto or into the roof.
That said, having a roof access hatch in place can pose risks if it is not installed, used, or maintained correctly. This is simple to achieve if the above steps are taken and the appropriate safety features are employed.
At Australian Height Safety Services, we can help you to identify what is required for your building to meet compliance requirements, and supply, install, and maintain high quality roof access hatches.
Contact us for more information.