Preventing accidents at Waimea College with SentryGlas skylights

Children should not be on the roof, but if they do get up there, there are products which can reduce the risks of accidents and falls.

Getting a call about an accident is something no school wants. Unfortunately, it happened at Waimea College one weekend – a child had fallen through a skylight, sustaining injuries.

Skylights, though they provide many benefits like increased natural light, pose a significant fall risk. Students may accidentally or intentionally access the roof, and skylights can be easy to miss, blending in with other roofing materials. Skylights may also present a false sense of security due to their double glazing. They are not, though, meant to bear loads, and skylights may unexpectedly give way, leading to accidents.

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Waimea College had around 75 domes over its plastic roofing, which were old and brittle. The roofs were on low, one storey buildings which were easily climbable. 

Fortunately, when Waimea College contacted Adlux, they were able to replace the skylights with new, safe “SentryGlas”. This new glass is a type of laminate safety glass, which is 100 times stronger and five times stiffer than traditional sky-light materials. The laminate lies under the glass, meaning that even if the skylight breaks, the laminate will hold the glass in place and prevent a fall from height, minimising injury and potentially saving lives.

Skylight, roof
Image supplied by Waimea College

Matthew Church, General Manager at Adlux, said: “you can argue that children shouldn’t be on the roof but the unfortunate fact is that children do go on the roof… preventing someone getting on the roof in the first place is the best option, but if you can’t guarantee someone’s not going to get on the roof, the next best option is something that won’t break.”

Diane Chapman, Resource Manager at Waimea College said: “The process of installing the skylights was seamless – Adlux provided the units in batches and a timely manner, and in so doing enabled the actual installation to be completed in an orderly manner.

“The skylights are modern more flattering than many of our old dome ones, enabling easier roof cleaning, and providing better light in some areas.”

Naomii Seah

Naomii Seah is a writer and journalist from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. She enjoys crochet, painting, and a coffee or two at the beach. Her work can be found at The Spinoff, The Pantograph Punch, Stuff, and of course, School News NZ.
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