Hispanic worker falls from residential roof – North Carolina

NIOSH FACE Report 2012-02
January 12, 2015


On April 19, 2012, a 37-year-old Hispanic male laborer fell approximately 13.5 feet from a residential roof to a concrete driveway; he died immediately from his injuries. The laborer was working with a crew of eight Hispanic workers for a construction subcontractor replacing shingles on a roof accessed by a ladder. At the time of the incident, five workers were on the roof, including the laborer who was out of sight of his coworkers working on the garage side of the home. When the incident occurred, the co-workers heard the laborer hit the ground, rushed to his aid, and called 911. Emergency Medical Services were dispatched to the incident and the laborer was pronounced dead at the scene.


Key contributing factors identified in this investigation include:

  • 13-foot plus fall distance and concrete surface
  • 10/12 roof pitch
  • 25-foot working length of fall arrest system lifeline
  • Fall arrest system lanyard connection point
  • Fall arrest system anchorage method
  • Worker’s level of experience / lack of training


NIOSH investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:

  • Develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive, safety program
  • Ensure that all employees working at heights are provided with fall prevention training that complies with OSHA standards, in a language and at a literacy level that they can comprehend
  • Ensure that all employees are provided with properly assembled and maintained fall protection systems when exposed to fall hazards
  • Assign a competent person to inspect the worksite before work begins to identify fall hazards, determine the appropriate fall prevention systems for workers, and ensure that personal fall arrest systems (PFAS) are installed properly

Additionally, general contractors:

  • General contractors should ensure through contract language that all subcontractors have a comprehensive safety program


Hispanic worker falls from residential roof – North Carolinapdf icon [PDF 682 KB]

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), an institute within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is the federal agency responsible for conducting research and making recommendations for the prevention of work-related injury and illness. In 1982, NIOSH initiated the Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program. FACE examines the circumstances of targeted causes of traumatic occupational fatalities so that safety professionals, researchers, employers, trainers, and workers can learn from these incidents. The primary goal of these investigations is for NIOSH to make recommendations to prevent similar occurrences. These NIOSH investigations are intended to reduce or prevent occupational deaths and are completely separate from the rulemaking, enforcement and inspection activities of any other federal or state agency. Under the FACE program, NIOSH investigators interview persons with knowledge of the incident and review available records to develop a description of the conditions and circumstances leading to the deaths in order to provide a context for the agency’s recommendations. The NIOSH summary of these conditions and circumstances in its reports is not intended as a legal statement of facts. This summary, as well as the conclusions and recommendations made by NIOSH, should not be used for the purpose of litigation or the adjudication of any claim. For further information, visit the program website at www.cdc.gov/niosh/face/ or call toll free at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).

Page last reviewed: November 18, 2015