A 70 year old male demolition laborer fell 26 feet to his death through a roof opening during the course of manual demolition work at a multi-million dollar school renovation project in Massachusetts. On the day of the incident, the victim was part of a five man rooftop crew manually dismantling tar, gravel and wooden planking from a flat built-up gymnasium rooftop to expose the steel gridwork beneath. Once the tar and gravel weather barrier was removed, strategic chain saw cuts were made to the wooden planking to create more manageable pieces to facilitate their removal. As work progressed, this on-going process exposed the crew to an increasing danger of falling through the ever widening roof opening. An eyewitness account described the victim standing approximately 5-6 feet from the roof opening one moment, and falling through it the next. The working surface was described as clear, dry, and stable with no noticeable slip/trip hazards present. The victim fell approximately 26 feet directly through the 10' x 10' opening and onto a waste heap of tar and gravel debris below. Immediately following the fall, the victim was in a state of semi-consciousness, labored to breathe and suffered only a slight visible facial abrasion. Moments later however, with advanced life support assistance on hand, the victim went into cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead less than one hour later at the regional hospital. The Massachusetts FACE Investigator concluded that in order to prevent future similar occurrences, employers should: 1. Consider and address worker safety in the planning phase of construction projects and do so on a daily basis if necessary. 2. Select and appoint a designated safety person to develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive safety program that includes, but is not limited to, worker training in fall hazard recognition and the use of fall protection devices. 3. Implement current standard(s) which require floor openings to be adequately protected and/or personal protective equipment to be used in the presence of fall hazards.
Region-1; 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; Safety-personnel; Training; Personal-protective-equipment; Protective-equipment; Warning-devices; Roofers; Roofing-and-sheet-metal-work; Roofing-industry