A professional roofer is constantly in demand, but few realize the dangers roofers face every day. The Federal Bureau of Labor and Statistics ranks construction work as the fourth most dangerous industry in the United States. Roofing is among the top 10 most dangerous jobs within that industry.
Because roofs are usually high off the ground, roofers who fall face serious or even fatal injury. Roofs are also designed to have rain water and other elements slide off them, so they are often peaked or sloped. When installing a new roof, surfaces can be slippery, especially if they are wet. Existing roofs in need of repair can have holes and uneven surfaces from broken or missing tiles. A roofer’s risk of falling increases even more when the materials and tools they need to complete their work are added to the job site.
Depth perception and balance can also cause a roofer to fall from an elevated work site. Working on a roof exposes workers to direct sunlight. Bright sunlight or sun glare can cause workers to misjudge the distance between objects and surfaces, causing them to fall. Dehydration and elevation can also sometimes cause dizziness. Roofers suffering from dizziness are at a much greater risk of falling.
Falling from a roof can result in serious and often catastrophic injuries. Head and back injuries, broken bones, internal organ damage, and severe cuts and lacerations are common. Permanent disability or fatality often result from falls from high rise buildings or scaffolding. Cognitive deficits and permanent nerve damage or paralysis can put an end to a roofer’s career and severely impact their quality of life and ability to handle everyday tasks.
Burns from hot asphalt are another risk that roofing professionals encounter. It is quite common for workers to be injured when boiling asphalt spills over or slides off a work surface. Burn injuries can require long recovery periods with painful surgeries and extensive physical therapy. The risk of developing a life-threatening infection is high in burn injury recovery.
Prevention is the key to lowering the risk of on-the-job injuries for roofers. Protective safety equipment and proper safety training can prevent accidents. Roofing professionals need to understand the hazards of the job and be able to identify factors that increase their risk of injury. Employers are responsible to provide this essential safety training and to ensure that the workplace is free from unnecessary hazards.
Scaffolding and ladders used to access a roof should be properly installed and maintained. Careful and frequent inspections are necessary to identify and repair weak or damaged areas. To reduce the risk of serious injuries, roofers can wear safety harnesses that are tethered to a secure object and can stop them from falling onto the ground. A well- organized worksite can prevent roofing accidents.
If you have been injured in a construction accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Call the Philadelphia construction accident lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP at 800-222-8792 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.