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Princeton University Physics Department Princeton University

    Safety and Environment

University Policy on Roof Use
and Departmental Rules for Roof Access

Please *find below a reminder from Greg Cantrell of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety that use of the roof is restricted to only bona fide University sanctioned activity (in our case maintenance and several experiments.)

Let me also take time to review the Departmentís Roof access rules:

Only those projects with approval from either the Chair or the Department Manger will be allowed to be placed on the roof.

Only people actively working on the approved projects will be allowed on the roof, and only when it is necessary for their active participation in the work activity.

Per OSHA regulations, people who are working outside on the open roof area must NOT go closer to the edge of the roof unless they have received fall protection training and they have some sort of fall protection apparatus. An orange line has been painted to delineate the six-foot encroachment zone. The area that has an adequate railing (namely the yellow stanchions on the west side of the area immediately outside of the roof access door) is excepted from the six foot encroachment rule.

The doors accessing the outside must remain closed and locked. If the door is to be open for an extended time period, it must be constantly monitored by someone assigned to watch the door. The door MAY NOT BE LEFT OPEN UNATTENDED. If anyone tries to go out onto the roof while it is open and it is not someone who is working on the project at hand, the person responsible for watching the door must challenge the person and make sure that they have proper access to the roof. If an unfamiliar person goes out onto the roof, call Geoff Gettelfinger(8-4404) or Aric Davala (8-1632) immediately.

Trash, tools, unused equipment, in-use equipment, good stuff that might be useful in the future, etc. may NOT obstruct any doorway and may NOT be placed in the stairwell. To do otherwise is a violation of life-safety codes and can lead to a very big fine, which will be borne by the offending group (per University policy.) If an item is not in use or will not be used in the next week or so, please take it downstairs to reduce the congestion in the roof access area.

All material outside on the roof must be secured to prevent it from blowing around or off the roof. Anything not in active use outside, must be brought inside or stored in a proper, approved container.

All equipment on the roof decking material must be on a pad or other surface approved by Special Facilities (Aric Davalaís group). This is to prevent an extremely costly charge if the roof membrane is penetrated, leading to a leak.

No object may be dropped or thrown from the roof or any balcony (or window for that matter.) Throwing or dropping objects is extremely unsafe. Anyone caught doing so will be disciplined in accordance with University policy, which can possibly lead to suspension without pay or permanent separation from the University. Certain exceptions can be made to this rule (e.g. an educational demonstration), only after extensive planning, consultation with the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, Departmental approval, and prior notification and coordination with Public Safety.

Abuse of these rules, can lead to suspension of rood access privileges and or referral to University disciplinary procedures, if warranted.

It is the responsibility of the Principal Investigator for the roof-top projects to make sure that the people working on the roof are aware of these rules and their enforcement.

Please remember to work safely and to watch out for the safety of your colleagues. Our primary goal is to prevent injuries to yourself and to others.


Geoff Gettelfinger, Department Manager
Physics Department
211 Jadwin Hall
609-258-4404 tel.
609-258-1124 fax.

*Reminder note from Greg Cantrell of the Office of Environmental Health and Safety:

"University policy prohibits the use of roofs on campus for personal or social purposes.

This is done because of the obvious hazard of falls, as well as the possibility of roof damage. Some roofs may be used for research and teaching with prior approval by contacting either Chris Machusak of the Maintenance Department at extension 8-6607, or Greg Cantrell of Environmental Health & Safety at extension 8-5294 or via e-mail at

Gregory D. Cantrell, CSP
University Safety Engineer
Princeton University
Environmental Health and Safety
262 Alexander Street
Princeton, NJ 08540
609-258-5849 (phone)
609-258-1804 (fax)
609-258-5294 (EHS main office number)"


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