NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Laborer dies from fall through skylight while shoveling snow on roof.

Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services
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 99WI002, 1999 Sep; :1-5
A 43-year-old male laborer (the victim) at a coatings manufacturing company died after falling through a skylight to a concrete floor 14 feet below. The victim and a co-worker had volunteered to clear snow from the roof of the company building late on a January afternoon, after their regular work day was finished. A flat roof over the first story portion of the company was covered with drifted snow, which varied in depth from several inches to over 3 feet in places. The victim was using large steps to walk through the snow to the south side of the roof, where the snow was deepest. It completely covered the tops of skylights in this area. He apparently failed to see the unguarded, three-foot square skylight and stepped onto it while walking. The plastic bubble of the skylight broke, and the victim fell to the concrete floor. His co-worker had been walking toward the north side of the roof, and turned to look when he heard a noise from the victim's direction. Seeing the broken skylight, the co-worker yelled for help. Workers on the main floor were already assisting the victim, where he had fallen, and called emergency services. EMS responders were on the scene within minutes, and a physician pronounced the victim dead at the scene. To prevent future fatalities of this type, the FACE investigator recommends employers should: 1. Guard skylight openings. 2. Lock all doors that provide access to unguarded rooftops. 3. Provide training in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions to workers who are assigned tasks outside their normal duties.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-99WI002; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-507081
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division