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Sole Proprietor Falls Eight Feet from Flat Roof While Installing Siding, Michigan

Michigan Case Report: 17MI075
Report Date: 08/05/2019


In summer 2017, a sole proprietor in his 50s died when he fell approximately 8 feet from a flat roof to the concrete/packed dirt below while installing siding on a residential home. The homeowner had contracted with Firm 1 to perform siding installation. The decedent used to be an employee of Firm 1, had left and joined Firm 2. Firm 1 subcontracted work to Firm 2. The decedent decided to leave Firm 2 and begin to work on his own. An employee of Firm 1 encountered the decedent at a local establishment and asked if he wanted the job. The decedent answered affirmatively, so the decedent was subcontracted directly by Firm 1. The decedent and his coworker (provided by Firm 2) were removing old aluminum siding and installing new cedar shake siding, removing and installing windows and window trim and fascia. The decedent’s coworker was working in the backyard of the home at the time of incident. It is unclear how the decedent fell from the roof – whether he stepped off the roof or whether he was trying to access a ladder to descend from the roof. The coworker’s statement to MIOSHA indicated the decedent walked back to him. The decedent told his coworker that he stepped off the roof and thought he cracked a rib. The decedent called the owner of Firm 2 on his cell phone and told him he fell from the roof. The owner of Firm 2 told him to go to the hospital. The decedent stated he was going to go home to rest. The decedent and his coworker cleaned up the jobsite, and the coworker started to drive the decedent back to his home in his pickup truck. On the way, they stopped at a convenience store, and the coworker went into the store while the decedent answered his cell phone as he was getting out of the truck. A store clerk told his coworker that his friend fell in the parking lot. The coworker and a bystander placed the decedent in the truck and his coworker transported him to a hospital. Several hours had elapsed before the decedent was seen by emergency personnel. He died eight hours later of complications of the injuries sustained in the fall.


  • No fall protection while working on a flat roof with a fall distance of more than six feet
  • Immediate medical attention not sought/provided after the fall
  • Convenience store clerk did not call for emergency response

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

  • Protect workers against falling while working six feet or more above a lower level. This includes, but is not limited to, providing appropriate fall protection utilizing conventional fall protection systems (guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems), a fall restraint system, or a written site-specific fall protection plan when conventional fall protection systems are deemed infeasible or pose a greater hazard.
  • Employers should develop and implement emergency response procedures.
  • Employers and sole proprietors should develop and implement a safety and health program to mitigate workplace hazards and risks.

Sole Proprietor Falls Eight Feet from Flat Roof While Installing Siding, Michigan [PDF 664 KB]