Unprotected Roof Hatches

March 14, 2024

OSHA 1910.28(b)(3)(v):

“Each employee is protected from falling through a hatchway and chute-floor hole by: a hinged floor-hole cover that meets the criteria in 29 CFR 1910.29 and a fixed guardrail system that leaves only one exposed side", as described in 29 CFR 1910.28

OSHA 1910.29(b)(13):

“When guardrail systems are used around holes that serve as points of access (such as ladderways), the guardrail system opening: Has a self-closing gate that slides or swings away from the hole, and is equipped with a top rail and mid-rail or equivalent.”

According to OSHA, “Falls are the leading cause of work-related injuries and deaths among roofers. Working six feet or more above lower levels put roofers at risk for serious injury or death if they should fall. A lack of fall protection, damaged fall protection equipment, or improper setup will increase their risk of falling from height.”



SRS offers multiple solutions to protect workers from the danger of falling through a roof hatch including:

1. KeeHatch® Roof Hatch Railings

Safety Rail Source® partners with Kee Safety® to offer Roof Hatch Guardrail with Self-Closing Gates. The KeeHatch® railings are galvanized or aluminum barriers installed around roof hatches to prevent falls through the hatches. We offer over 80 OSHA Compliant models for every size of access hatch. For harsh environments, choose the KeeHatch® Mightylight model made of aluminum and stainless steel. 

2. NextGen Lift & Lock™ Roof Hatch Opener

The Lift & Lock product provides additional roof hatch and ladder safety by enabling users to open, close, lock and unlock roof hatches quickly and easily while standing at the base of the ladder. This allows the user to follow industry best practices of maintaining three points of contact on the ladder and satisfies OSHA code 1910.29(i)(1).

Additional OSHA Code Detail:

1910.29(i)(1): Each ladder safety system allows the employee to climb up and down using both hands and does not require that the employee continuously hold, push, or pull any part of the system while climbing.

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.

1910.29(e): The employer must ensure each cover for a hole in a walking-working surface is capable of supporting without failure, at least twice the maximum intended load that may be imposed on the cover at any one time; and is secured to prevent accidental displacement.

New OSHA code: 1910.29(b) replaces previous OSHA code: 1910.23(a). Therefore, if you are currently using chains, single-bar or drop-bar style gates in an access point or opening, they are no longer compliant and need to be replaced.