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The Guardian Fall Team Blog

While many commercial roofs have stairwell, elevator or exterior ladder access, roof hatches are one of the most common means of commercial rooftop access. I find that I am frequently asked whether or not it is truly a requirement that roof hatches have guarding protection. And yes, it is an OSHA general and construction industry requirement that roof hatch openings are properly protected.

For your consideration and review, I have prepared a list of the applicable standards below. If you have any further questions on roof hatch protection or these applicable OSHA standards, please contact me at my office at 1.800.466.6385 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Applicable OSHA Standards -

General Industry:

1910.23(a)(3)
Every hatchway and chute floor opening shall be guarded by one of the following:

1910.23(a)(3)(i)
Hinged floor opening cover of standard strength and construction equipped with standard railings or permanently attached thereto so as to leave only one exposed side. When the opening is not in use, the cover shall be closed or the exposed side shall be guarded at both top and intermediate positions by removable standard railings.

Construction:

1926.501(b)(4)(i)
Each employee on walking/working surfaces shall be protected from falling through holes (including skylights) more than 6 feet (1.8 m) above lower levels, by personal fall arrest systems, covers, or guardrail systems erected around such holes.

OSHA 1926.500 defines Hole as meaning
a gap or void 2 inches (5.1 cm) or more in its least dimension, in a floor, roof, or other walking/working surface.