Construction Foreman/Carpenter Dies from Complications From Fall From Roof, Michigan
Michigan Case Report: 17MI128
In fall 2017 a male construction foreman/carpenter in his 40s died from complications of the injuries sustained in a 13-foot fall from a metal pole barn roof. The crew had completed the installation of the plywood and felt for the 4/12 pitch roof. Some metal sheeting on one side of the roof had been installed. According to one coworker at the scene, when the crew arrived at the site, it was sprinkling. The decedent decided to build a platform on the side of the roof that had the metal sheets installed. The decedent was accessing the roof from a lift that was positioned so he could step from the lift to the roof. He was not wearing fall protection. The decedent was holding onto a sheet of plywood as he stepped from the lift to the roof, to hand the plywood to a coworker who had accessed the roof using a 25-foot ladder. The decedent took a few steps backward and may have stepped on the wet metal sheeting. He slipped and fell approximately 13 feet from the roof edge to the packed dirt below. Another firm’s employee at the site called the decedent’s employer; his employer called for emergency response. The decedent was taken to a local hospital where he died from complications of the fall approximately one month later.
Occupational injuries and fatalities are often the result of one or more contributing factors or key events in a larger sequence of events that ultimately result in the injury or fatality. The following hazards were identified as key contributing factors in this incident:
- Did not wear fall protection
- Did not take work/environmental conditions into account
- Stepped from lift to roof holding OSB board during 12 mph winds
- Metal roof was wet
- Safety program not implemented and enforced
MIFACE investigators concluded that, to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should:
- Employers should ensure that at least one of the following is used whenever employees are exposed to a fall of 6 feet or more above a lower level: Guardrail Systems; Safety Net Systems; Personal Fall Arrest Systems.
- Employers should ensure that established safety procedures are implemented and enforced on the worksite.
- Employers should ensure employees conduct a worksite hazard assessment, which includes environmental conditions, prior to performing work.