Commercial Roofer Died When Struck by a Falling Load of Palletized Roofing Material

Michigan Case Report: 09MI049


In the summer of 2009, a 48-year-old male commercial roofer, working on a roof, died when a load of shrink-wrapped roofing material, weighing approximately 1,900 pounds fell 20-30 feet from a 40-inch by 50-inch wooden pallet being transported overhead by a tower crane. The decedent’s supervisor, who was the roof man (signal person) for the lift, was working in another area of the roof clearing space for the pallet of rolled roofing material to be placed. The rigger placed a ratchet strap around the roofing bundle, and then “basket-rigged” the wooden pallet with two slings, both of which were 28-foot long, 2-inch wide polyester slings. The slings were connected to a ½-inch by 19-foot 2-inch leg spreader equipped with 10-inch hooks and a master ring that was connected to the crane’s hook. The slings were placed through the fork lift sleeves of the pallet. The rolls of roofing material were not secured to the pallet. The rigger indicated the load was ready to be hoisted to the roof. As the rigger observed the load being raised, he did not note any load instability or imbalance. The crane operator lifted the load approximately 20-30 feet above roof level, and then began to transport the load to the placement area. This involved swinging the load over the area where the decedent and his coworkers had been assigned to work by the supervisor. The crane operator noticed the roofing rolls were beginning to fall from the pallet. The crane operator yelled out a warning to the workers. The rolls of roofing material fell from the pallet and struck the decedent. The coworkers called for emergency response, unhooked the ratchet strap, and removed the roofing materials from the decedent. Emergency response provided care, and the decedent was transported to a local hospital where he was declared dead.

Commercial Roofer Died When Struck by a Falling Load of Palletized Roofing Materialpdf icon [PDF 198 KB]

Page last reviewed: November 18, 2015