Risk of and injuries from falls is a huge focus of injury prevention in all of our environments - working, learning and living. The need to consider safety measures and protocols when working at heights begins once a person is four feet above the next landing surface. Although falls have been taken both from lesser and greater distances and either resulted in an injury or not, OSHA is clear that four feet is the height where fall protection needs to be considered to prevent injuries.
Working at Heights
For general workplace practices, the Physical Plant Department staff likely spend more time working at heights than any other group of faculty, staff or students. As a means of providing essential training and establishing safe work practices, their safety staff have developed a set of program requirements for working at heights that can serve as a model for any group on campus.
As the curiosity of UVM's creative faculty, staff and students contiued to reach for the sky, the development of a Roof Access Procedure was done to support research efforts. Currently, roofs that researchers can apply for access to for academic purposes include Votey and Aiken. The process is lengthy and may involve permitting in addition to approval for access. An excellent place to begin understanding the requirements of these types of endeavors is in reading through the procedure.
Addtional consideration come into play when faculty and staff who have applied and received approval for roof access plan to include student in their projects. For safety's sake, faculty and staff will need to provide all pertinent training to students prior to them beginning their roof experience. Subsequent to the training, students will be required to sign an acknowledgement of risk form for the department that is responsible for their roof access to keep on file. In the event of an incident, the responsible department would be required to provide this information to the Department of Risk Management & Safety. Furthermore, in an effort to ensure that negative occurances regarding safety would never be the outcome of approved roof access, faculty and staff responsible for students accessing the roof will provide continuous supervision while any of their students is on the roof.