Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 2001-07, 2002 Feb; :1-11
On February 4, 2001 a 14-year-old male laborer (the victim) died from injuries he sustained the previous day when he fell approximately 12 feet through a skylight to the lower concrete level below. The victim was reportedly working with his employer and a crew of six other workers removing existing roofing materials from the flat roof of a wholesale florist shop. None of the workers had received training in fall protection methods and no means of fall protection had been provided by the employer. A coworker told police that the victim was removing roofing materials and apparently lost his balance and fell backwards through an unguarded skylight. Immediately following the incident, workers inside the florist shop called 911, and police and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel responded within 4 minutes. The victim was transported by ambulance to a local hospital where he died the day after the incident. NIOSH investigators concluded that in order to help prevent similar occurrences, employers should: 1) conduct a site inspection prior to beginning roofing work to identify all potential fall hazards present, and take appropriate steps to ensure that identified hazards are eliminated or controlled prior to the commencement of work activities (e.g. provide an adequate skylight cover to prevent employees from falling into or though a skylight or opening; provide barrier protection to prevent workers from falling while working near skylights, openings, or roof edges; provide adequate fall protection at all other exposed areas on the roof surface; 2) develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive written safety program for all workers which includes training in hazard recognition, including but not limited to fall hazards, and the avoidance of unsafe conditions; 3) contact their area U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office for guidance in protecting workers of all ages and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment Standards Administration Wage and Hour Division and the State agency responsible for child labor for guidance in complying with child labor laws which prohibit certain types of work by workers less than 18-years-old, additionally; 4) general contractors should ensure through contract language that all subcontractors have appropriate safety programs and training specific to the work to be performed; 5) designers/manufacturers of skylights should evaluate load capacities of current designs and consider strengthening skylight components and incorporating safeguards, such as protective screens, into skylight designs; 6) government agencies, school officials, and health and safety organizations should continue their efforts to inform the public about child labor laws, and parents should become familiar with occupations which are prohibited for minors.