Roofer Killed After Falling From a Ladder Lowered From a School Roof

New Jersey Case Report: 04NJ034
Release Date: December 27, 2005

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.


On May 13, 2005, a 26-year-old roofer was killed when he fell while climbing down an extension ladder that he had just lowered from the first story roof of a high school. The incident occurred at an urban high school that had contracted with the victim’s employer to renovate the school’s flat roof. This was the last day of the construction project, and the work crew was completing the final tasks for the project and packing up their equipment. The victim had been assigned to clamp on a drain basket and reattach an electrical box near the edge of the roof. The victim climbed up to the roof through an interior stairwell and retrieved a 28-foot fiberglass extension ladder that was on the roof. When he reached his work area, he lowered the ladder to the ground from the top of the 15foot- high roof. As he started to climb down the ladder, the locking mechanism that secured the sections together failed, causing the top ladder section to suddenly slide downward. The victim fell from the ladder, striking his head on a piece of metal extending from the wall, and landed on a concrete walkway below. He died at the scene of the incident.

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Page last reviewed: November 18, 2015