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Hispanic roofer dies after falling through an improperly secured roof hatch cover.

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 10MI144, 2012 Nov; :1-12
In the winter of 2010, a Hispanic male roofer in his 30s died when he fell 48 feet through a 5-foot by 5-foot roof hatch that was improperly covered. Eight of the roof hatches were covered with 60-inch by 60-inch 22-guage sheet metal and one roof hatch was covered with corrugated sheet metal. The employee was assisting the foreman by moving insulation to the slightly tapered roof drainage areas. The roof hatch's curb and cover had been installed by another contractor. The sequence of events leading to the fall was unwitnessed. At some point, the decedent fell onto the sheet metal cover. The cover gave way and both the cover and the decedent fell 48 feet to the concrete floor below. Emergency response was called and the decedent was declared dead at the scene. No fasteners were found on the sheet cover, ground or on the roof after the incident occurred. The hatch cover had no tears or other abrasions as a result of the decedent's fall. Three other employers (general contractor, primary mechanical contractor, and subcontractor of the primary mechanical contractor) were working onsite when the fatality occurred. MIOSHA cited all four employers of the multi-employer worksite at the conclusion of its investigation. Key contributing factors identified in this investigation were: 1) Improper materials used and securement of the cover for access hatch; 2) Company's Environmental Health and Safety program requirements were not followed; and 3) Construction companies interaction with each other. RECOMMENDATIONS: 1) Construction employers should develop and ensure implementation of their MIOSHA-required accident prevention program at the jobsite including, but not limited to, daily hazard assessments to identify and mitigate hazards, such as unsecured roof covers, to ensure employee safety.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Construction; Construction-industry; Construction-materials; Roofers; Fall-protection; Construction-workers; Roofing-and-sheet-metal-work; Hazards; Occupational-hazards; Health-hazards; Safety-monitoring; Safety-practices; Work-operations; Work-practices; Regulations; Racial-factors; Author Keywords: Fall; Roof Opening; Unsecured Roof Cover; Hispanic; Construction
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-10MI144; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008466
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