The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) urges employers and supervisors to protect workers from the dangers of deadly – and preventable – falls. Roofers in particular face fall-associated risks (as well as other occupational hazards), so it’s critical to provide adequate fall protection and to provide other safety measures in order to limit preventable injuries and fatalities.
Stories about workers who do roofing work and are injured as a result of safety failures aren’t uncommon. Over the years, numerous roofing companies have been fined for failing to provide lifesaving fall protection for their employees. Regardless of this, far too often individuals suffer catastrophic, permanently disabling or fatal injuries because of an employer’s refusal to ensure worker safety by remaining in compliance with federal safety standards.
The rule of thumb with this kind of workplace event is that if someone working at a height of six feet or above falls, he or she faces risks of serious injury or death. According to OSHA’s data, between 2003 and 2013 there were at least 1,200 workers who lost their lives after falling from roofs. OSHA reports that roofers commonly face other well-known hazards associated with working at heights, like:
Since roof workers are regularly exposed to hazardous conditions, making sure that comprehensive safety measures are in place is the most effective and responsible (as well as law abiding) way to limit falls and other dangers that lead to injuries or death. Roofing employers should be particularly vigilant about assessing fall hazards such as leading edges, skylights and holes.
Under federal regulations, adequate fall safety training must cover several topics. An integral part of this training is to teach workers how to properly identify hazards so they can report and avoid them. The training also has to include specifics on ladder, roof and scaffold safety. OSHA requires every employer to offer safety training and if they fail to do so, the administration is able to enact financial penalties and require that the employer remedy the problems. Sadly, these consequences often come about too late for roofers and other workers who are injured or fatally wounded because of an employer’s negligence.
To prevent roof work-related falls, employers are legally obligated to install various safety features as well as to provide different kinds of fall protection. Employers and workers alike should be sure they fully understand these standards and regulations.
How else can employers exhaust every opportunity to keep employees safe? OSHA has a campaign called “Plan, Provide and Train” that aims to prevent fall-related injuries and fatalities. To do more to limit the dangers that roof workers face, OSHA recommends employers carefully plan all jobs ahead, provide the correct equipment and make sure that every employee is properly trained on all critical work safety topics.
A roofer shouldn’t fear for his or her life – or the ability to continue living that same quality of life – because of an employer’s failure to prioritize safety in the workplace. Although many employers comply with federal safety standards, far too many don’t and workers across the country suffer for it. If you’re a roofer who experienced injuries after falling in the workplace and you have questions or concerns about whether or not your employer could have provided better protection, please contact a representative at our firm.
If you were injured at work, please contact our Allentown Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Galfand Berger. With offices are located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading, and Lancaster and we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.