With solar panels becoming more and more commonplace with big superstores like Walmart having them on their rooftops to cut costs and become green, we need to start to consider the possible hazards this could cause; the main one being the technicians who service these solar panels which are often located on rooftops, something which puts the technicians at an immediate risk of falling. In fact in 2013 in the United States, 291 fatal falls occurred; deaths which could have been prevented if the proper fall protection steps were put into place.
The workers who work on rooftops are often using ladders, scaffolding or rooftop hatch openings, to access rooftops. This often puts them nearby of ledges and skylights making them exposed to potential fall hazards. On top of this, as more and more solar panels are installed onto the rooftop the walking surface of the roof slowly dissipates until there may no longer be available walking space, causing the workers to squeeze or walk closely to skylights, roof edges and roof hatches. Again making it that much more apparent that safety precautions need to be put in place to protect workers.
It is recommended by OSHA that you have some sort of fall protection if workers installing solar panels are exposed to a fall distance of 6 feet or more. Some of the fall protection systems, which can be used to protect the workers include:
For maintenance workers if they are exposed to a fall hazard of 4 feet or more then they MUST be protected by a guardrail system, if this is not possible then they need to have some sort of personal fall arrest system or safety net.
So the next time you wish to have the dust and particulate removed from your solar panels or they require maintenance remember the safety of those maintenance crews whom you hire to conduct this work and ensure that they will be protected by installing a fall prevention solution onto your rooftop.
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