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Commercial roofer died when struck by a falling load of palletized roofing material.

Michigan State University
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 09MI049, 2011 Jul; :1-17
In the summer of 2009, a 48-year-old male commercial roofer, working on a roof, died when a load of shrink-wrapped roofing material, weighing approximately 1,900 pounds fell 20-30 feet from a 40-inch by 50-inch wooden pallet being transported overhead by a tower crane. The decedent's supervisor, who was the roof man (signal person) for the lift, was working in another area of the roof clearing space for the pallet of rolled roofing material to be placed. The rigger placed a ratchet strap around the roofing bundle, and then "basket-rigged" the wooden pallet with two slings, both of which were 28-foot long, 2-inch wide polyester slings. The slings were connected to a ½-inch by 19-foot 2-inch leg spreader equipped with 10-inch hooks and a master ring that was connected to the crane's hook. The slings were placed through the fork lift sleeves of the pallet. The rolls of roofing material were not secured to the pallet. The rigger indicated the load was ready to be hoisted to the roof. As the rigger observed the load being raised, he did not note any load instability or imbalance. The crane operator lifted the load approximately 20-30 feet above roof level, and then began to transport the load to the placement area. This involved swinging the load over the area where the decedent and his coworkers had been assigned to work by the supervisor. The crane operator noticed the roofing rolls were beginning to fall from the pallet. The crane operator yelled out a warning to the workers. The rolls of roofing material fell from the pallet and struck the decedent. The coworkers called for emergency response, unhooked the ratchet strap, and removed the roofing materials from the decedent. Emergency response provided care, and the decedent was transported to a local hospital where he was declared dead. Recommendations: Decedent's employer: 1. Employers should ensure riggers are appropriately trained in safe and proper rigging techniques, including assessing the scope of the activity being performed, planning the activity, selecting and inspecting rigging components, and execution of the rigging and lift. 2. Employers should ensure roof signal persons are appropriately trained. 3. Employers working on a multiple-employer construction site should institutionalize a communication system to ensure safety warnings are communicated to affected employees. 4. Employers should discuss with appropriate personnel (e.g. crane operator, rigger, signal person, other safety personnel, etc.) upcoming material lifts, including selecting the load path and landing location, worker warning systems, and any additional safety concerns. 5. Employers should develop as required, a job safety analysis (JSA) for worker tasks. Crane operator: 1. Crane operators should conduct a visual survey of the transport path prior to the lift to identify worker locations. If workers are in the transport path, the crane operator should provide an audible warning that a load will be transported overhead and/or contact the signal person to warn these workers. 2. Crane operators should visually inspect the load after lifting to the desired height and prior to transport to the landing site to ensure load stability. General Contractors: 1. General contractors should develop a detailed outline to follow during subcontractor orientation to ensure training consistency. 2. General contractors should develop a method for auditing both the development and submission of subcontractor job safety analysis plans. 3. Contractual arrangements between general contractors and site owners should be adhered to and enforced. Tower Crane Manufacturers: Tower crane manufacturers should consider including a wireless camera as part of the standard equipment package for a tower crane purchase/rental. Employers Utilizing Tower Cranes: 1. Employers utilizing tower cranes without cameras should, in consultation with the crane operator, consider renting and/or mounting a wireless camera directly on the hook block or crane jib to assist the crane operator in monitoring the load.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Construction-industry; Construction-equipment; Construction-workers; Safety-practices; Safety-equipment; Materials-handling; Materials-handling-equipment; Roofers; Roofing-industry; Author Keywords: Struck by; Construction; Tower Crane; Roofing
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-09MI049; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008466; B11232011
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Michigan State University
Page last reviewed: December 17, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division