Environmental, Health and Safety Services

Roof Access

Introduction

Buildings on campus may have hazards that require approval for access and/or preplanning to address the hazardous condition. Hazardous conditions may include chemical fume hood exhaust, biological research exhaust, radio frequency towers, emergency notification sirens (i.e. noise), and/or fall hazards.

Chemical Fume Hood Exhausts

Work on Chemical Fume Hood Exhaust Systems

When work is necessary on fume hood exhaust systems, proper personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn at all times. Personal protective equipment (PPE) is also necessary for work on, or entry into, the exhaust plenums in buildings with fume hoods where general roof access is "unrestricted". Fume hoods must be POSTED (on the sash) out of service per the procedure below anytime power will be shutdown or other work is performed that impairs the normal safe operation of the hoods. It may be necessary to POST fume hoods out of service per the procedure below. If the hood is POSTED out for work on the inside of the fume hood itself (i.e plumbing, electrical, etc.), the hood surfaces must be cleaned by laboratory personnel prior to work beginning. Personal protective equipment may include respiratory protection, chemical-resistant clothing and gloves, and safety glasses or goggles. Contact EHS at 231-3427 for assistance, if necessary.

General Roof Access

General roof access is often necessary to perform tasks other than those involving fume hood exhaust systems. Depending on the design of the exhaust system, the potential for chemical exposure may exist for personnel on the roof. Authorized personnel only are permitted on building roofs. Refer to the Roof Access Chart to determine the roof access level - "Restricted" or "Unrestricted", and follow guidelines below for safe and proper access..

"Unrestricted"

Buildings with "unrestricted" roof access have strobic-like exhaust design and potential for chemical exposure is minimal. No special precautions are necessary for chemical exposure.

"Restricted"

Buildings with "restricted" roof access do not have strobic-like exhaust design and the potential for chemical exposure requires that one of the following precautions be taken:

1. Fume Hoods Must Be POSTED as Out Of Service During Roof Access

  • Contact Facilities Work Management (231-4300) at least three (3) working days prior to access.
  • Facilities will initiate communication with Departmental personnel regarding a work plan for fume hood shut down for affected laboratories and work groups.
  • Departmental personnel must post a notice on the fume hood(s) indicating the date(s) and time(s) the hoods will be out of service (i.e. powered off, chemicals and wastes transferred to designated storage locations or cabinets outside of the hood if possible or containers properly capped and secured, hood sashes closed, and no active work going on).
  • POSTINGS must be placed on the closed sash. The number of fume hoods will be identified in parentheses for the building to help coordinate tagging hoods out of service, if necessary. Note: POSTNG a fume hood out of service does not physically prevent laboratory personnel from using the hoods. Department Management are responsible for enforcing lab compliance with all tag instructions related to shutdown. A sample tag can be found here.
  • The Departmental contact must inform Facilities that proper POSTING is complete before work may proceed at that point.
  • If for any reason the scheduled work will not be performed during the requested time period, and fume hoods have already been tagged out of service, Facilities must notify the Department immediately to avoid unnecessary disruption of laboratory activities.

2. Proper respiratory protection must be used if fume hoods cannot be posted out of service on "Restricted" roofs, if work is being performed directly on the chemical fume hood exhaust system, or in cases where emergency access may be necessary. Where respirators are required, the user shall use a P100/Multi-gas/vapor cartridge suitable for the type of respirator being used. This cartridge will protect the user from multiple potential exposures, such as organic vapors, chlorine, hydrogen chloride, sulfer dioxide, chlorine dioxide, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, methylamine, formaldehyde, or hydrogen fluoride, and non-oil and oil particulates. VT personnel must comply with EHS' Respiratory Protection Program.

3. Short-term excursions onto "restricted" roofs may be approved on a case-by-case basis if it can be determined that no chemical exposure or risk exists. Contact the EHS Chemical Hygiene Officer at 231-3427 for access review and approval.

Biological Fume Hood Exhaust

Approval from the department is required prior to accessing the building roof where biological research is conducted. Coordination of work and fume hood shutdowns may be necessary.

Radio Frequency Towers

Radio towers are present on some building roofs and may need to be powered down prior to access in the immediate area of the tower. Contact the appropriate station owner for coordination of access.

Emergency Notification Sirens

Severe noise hazard will be present if the siren/emergency notification system is activated during roof access. If relay "clicks" are heard, indicating activation, leave the roof immediately.

Fall Hazards

Fall hazard situations may exist in certain areas of this roof. Follow information provided for the access code below. If no code is available, contact EHS at 231-2341 for review.
  • 1 - No Access: Access is not permitted on this roof until a fall protection system has been implemented.
    • 1A: No access permitted on this roof at this time. Contact EHS for review and recommendations, if necessary.
    • 1B: Access from aerial lift or scaffolding only.
  • 2 - Fall Protection Provided: Appropriate parapet walls and/or guardrail system is in place. Stay within the confined area.
  • 3 - Warning System Required: Appropriate warning line must be set up 6 feet from the edge of the roof, hole, or unguarded skylight. Stay within the confined area. Do not go within 6 feet of the edge of the roof, hole, or skylight.
  • 4 - Personal Fall Arrest System Required: Only trained personnel, wearing appropriate an appropriate PFAS, attached to an approved anchor point may access this roof, or be within 6 feet of the edge of the roof. Note: Designated anchor points on campus are for personnel attachment only. Equipment must be attached to some other structure.
    • 4A: Permanent anchor points have been installed for use.
    • 4B: Mobile anchor points are available for use. Only trained personnel may use this system. Mobile anchor points must be used in accorance with manufacturer instructions at all times.
    • 4C: Temporary anchor points must be installed. Contact EHS for review and recommendations.
  • 5 - Safety Monitor System Option: If no other means of protection are feasible and certain conditions are met, a safety monitor system may be used.

For more information, please contact EHS:

  • Chemical - Rachael Layman, 231-3427 or Bernadette Mondy, 231-8758
  • Biological - Charlotte Waggoner, 231-5864
  • Physical - Robin McCall-Miller, 231-2341 or Zack Adams, 231-5985

Reviewed: September 2016