236954 Roofing deaths in construction, 1992-2007

Monday, October 31, 2011: 12:43 PM

Michael McCann, PhD, CIH , CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training, Silver Spring, MD
Background and Objective: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) found that one-third of construction deaths were due to falls. This study involved analyzing causes of death in roofing work from 1992-2007, and making recommendations for their prevention. Methods: Roofing deaths were identified using the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI), a Bureau of Labor Statistics database. Roofing deaths were identified through the Standard Industrial Classification categories or from the North American Industry Classification System. Additional roofing deaths were identified by searching the occupation code for “roofer and CFOI narratives for “roof”. Results: From 1992-2007, 1,353 roofing-related deaths of construction workers were identified, averaging 85 deaths annually. Workers aged 35-54 accounted for almost half of the deaths. The most common occupations involved were roofers, construction laborers, and supervisors/managers/administrators. Over two-thirds of the deaths involved residential sites. Falls, especially from roof edge, were the major causes of death. Other causes included electrocutions and collapses, especially of ladders going to roofs. Conclusion: Roofing contractors should have a written fall protection program. According to OSHA Subpart M - Fall Protection, unprotected sides and edges should be protected with guardrails, safety nets or personal fall protection systems. Roof openings and skylights should be securely covered or protected with guardrails. Personal fall protection systems should be used when installing or removing skylights. Ladders and scaffolds should be inspected daily. Before work begins at a site, an inspection should be made for the presence of overhead power lines.

Learning Areas:
Occupational health and safety

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the causes of roofing deaths in construction. 2. Describe recommendations to prevent roofing deaths in construction.

Keywords: Construction Injuries, Occupational Injury and Death

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have 12 years of experience in researching, writing and presenting on construction safety. I am a certified industrial hygienist and have a PhD. in Chemistry.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.