According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the construction industry is the third most dangerous profession in the United States, preceded only by mining and agriculture. Falls from elevations and scaffolding account for the majority of injuries and deaths in the roofing industry, but material handling and getting struck by construction vehicles or other materials on the job also account for a high number of accidents and fatalities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report that 76 percent of fatal roofing accidents are attributed to falls, whereas 10 percent are related to workers being struck by objects on the job.
In a study conducted by the Center for Construction Research and Training Data Center, there were 2,163 fatal fall accidents reported in the roofing industry between 1992 and 2009, which accounted for one-third of all construction related fatalities. The study showed that roofers are three times more likely to die in a work-related accident than any other type of construction worker. Surprisingly, the highest percentage of injury and fatalities among roofers happened on residential roofing jobs as opposed to commercial jobs. Hispanic and immigrant workers were most at risk for serious or deadly accidents.
Roofers have a high risk of serious injury or death by being struck by objects on the job, such as being hit by a construction vehicle, car or falling debris. Heavy materials are often transported to rooftops by construction cranes and booms. If a roofer is hit by one of these items, they can suffer fatal injuries or even die by falling off of the roof after being struck. On the ground, driver inattentiveness and lack of safety procedures can put the roofer in danger of being struck by the many construction vehicles and heavy equipment pieces needed for the job.
Less serious injuries occur from the amount of material handling that is involved with installing or repairing roofs. Continuous bending, lifting, stretching and pulling movements required in the roofing industry can lead to sprains, hernias, lower back, shoulder and knee injuries. Though not fatal in nature, these types of injuries often require prolonged healing periods and continuous therapy.
As in most cases, proper training, mandated safety procedures and access to protective safety equipment are key to preventing serious injury or death in the roofing industry. Roofers working above six feet from a solid surface should have guardrails, a safety net or safety harnesses in place to reduce their risk of injury if they fall. Scaffolds and guardrails should be checked regularly for any defects and be repaired immediately. Workers must be trained on safety procedures and posters reminding workers of these procedures should be posted in high accident areas. Protective gear needs to be available to all workers who should be trained on how to properly use them on the job.
Even with the best protective gear and training, accidents can still happen. Roofers need to be especially aware of their risks of falls and continuously reminded of safety procedures and protocols to reduce the likelihood of a serious or fatal accident.
Philadelphia Construction Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Advocate for Roofers Injured on the Job
If you or someone you know has been injured or killed in a roofing accident or in the construction industry, you may be entitled to receive compensation. The experienced Philadelphia construction accident lawyers at DiTomaso Law can help you claim the compensation you are entitled to under the law that can significantly reduce the financial strain on you and your family that occurs from lost wages and medical expenses.
Call us at 856-414-0010 or complete our online contact form to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are conveniently located in Philadelphia and in Cherry Hill, New Jersey allowing us to serve clients throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania.