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Hispanic Roofer Dies After Falling Through an Improperly Secured Roof Hatch Cover

Michigan Case Report: 10MI144

The following report is the product of our Cooperative State partner and is presented here in its original unedited form from the state. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the individual Cooperative State partner and do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


In the winter of 2010, a Hispanic male roofer in his 30s died when he fell 48 feet through a 5-foot by 5-foot roof hatch that was improperly covered. Eight of the roof hatches were covered with 60-inch by 60-inch 22-guage sheet metal and one roof hatch was covered with corrugated sheet metal. The employee was assisting the foreman by moving insulation to the slightly tapered roof drainage areas. The roof hatch’s curb and cover had been installed by another contractor. The sequence of events leading to the fall was unwitnessed. At some point, the decedent fell onto the sheet metal cover. The cover gave way and both the cover and the decedent fell 48 feet to the concrete floor below. Emergency response was called and the decedent was declared dead at the scene. No fasteners were found on the sheet cover, ground or on the roof after the incident occurred. The hatch cover had no tears or other abrasions as a result of the decedent’s fall. Three other employers (general contractor, primary mechanical contractor, and subcontractor of the primary mechanical contractor) were working onsite when the fatality occurred. MIOSHA cited all four employers of the multi-employer worksite at the conclusion of its investigation.

Hispanic Roofer Dies After Falling Through an Improperly Secured Roof Hatch Cover [PDF 218 KB]