• Premises Safety
  • Insights
  • Higher Ed
  • K-12

Rooftops and Other Dangerous Places

Alyssa Keehan, Esq., CPCU, ARM
June 2021
Restrict access to rooftops, balconies, upper-floor windows, and other dangerous locations on campus to help prevent injuries.

Falls from rooftops, balconies, and upper-floor windows can cause serious injury and even death. Fire escapes and rooms storing high-voltage electrical equipment also have been scenes of tragic accidents.

Your K-12 school, college, or university may be held liable for injuries sustained while in a restricted area on campus even if the person wasn’t authorized to be there. Liability can occur if an institution allows “unreasonably dangerous” conditions that cause injury to someone in the restricted area.

Prevent Access to Restricted Areas

  • Identify all campus locations designated as restricted access. Regularly inspect these locations. Document the inspections.
  • Prohibit dangerous activities such as climbing onto ledges, accessing the roof, and climbing onto fire escapes — except in emergencies.
  • Ensure locks or access pads are intact and working properly.
  • Use alarms to alert personnel of unauthorized access.
  • Post warnings about restricted areas. Include language such as “Keep Out” or “Authorized Access Only."
  • Notify residents about restricted areas in campus housing and residence halls. Provide notification at the beginning of each school term.
  • Consult building codes. Ensure all safety regulations are followed.

Provide Staff With Training, Details on Reporting

Train building supervisors, maintenance staff, resident assistants, and others on the importance of preventing unauthorized access to restricted areas.

Instruct campus staff and students about how to report broken locks and other systems designed to keep unauthorized people out of dangerous locations. Encourage them to do so.

Additional Resources

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