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Roofing Fatalities

Roofing Fatalities


Did you know that Roofers have the 5th highest work-related death rate in construction? Not to mention federal studies suggest that the deaths of roofers have reached a 5 year all-time high in the U.S.

Studies show there are 29.9 roofing deaths per 100,000 full-time workers compared to 15.2 deaths per 100,000 full-time workers for all construction. That is a difference of about twice as much!

Did you know that about 50 roofers are killed by falls on the job each year?  Government reports suggests that inadequate fall protection is responsible for most of the fatal falls.

See chart below.

Causes of work-related deaths, roofers, United States, yearly average, 1992-98


Source: Data from Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Falls from roof edges accounted for half of the fall deaths. For roofers in residential construction, falls from roof edges accounted for 70% of work-related-fall deaths and 90% of roof fall deaths. These statistics propose that there is insufficient roof-edge fall protection being provided.
Causes of deaths from falls, roofers, United States, yearly average, 1992-98

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics
Residential roofers had almost twice the percentage of fatal falls from ladders compared to all other roofers. This could be because ladders are used more in residential work. Skylight falls were almost all in commercial roofing.



Workplace fatalities statistics

Statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regarding workplace fatalities.

  • In 2012, 4,628 workers were killed on the job—on average, 89 per week, more than 12 deaths every day
  • In 2012, 748 Hispanic or Latino workers were killed from work-related injuries—on average, more than 14 deaths per week or two Latino workers killed every day.
  • Fatal work injuries involving contractors accounted for 15 percent of all fatal work injuries in 2012.
  • Of the 4,175 worker fatalities in the private industry in 2012, 806 were in construction.
  • The leading causes of worker deaths on construction sites in 2012 were falls, followed by struck by object, electrocution and caught-in/between. Known as the "Fatal Four," these causes were responsible for 54.2 percent of construction worker deaths in 2012.
  • Falls accounted for 279 of 806 total deaths in construction in 2012.
  • Electrocutions accounted for 66 of 806 total deaths in construction.


What Can We Do? 

Taking precaution could prevent most work-related deaths of roofers.

  • Plan - PLAN ahead to get the job done safely
  • ProvidePROVIDE the right equipment
  • Train - TRAIN everyone to use the equipment safely

Contractors should:

  • Conduct safety training often, specifically on fall safety and electrical safety.
  • Consider using guardrails and personal fall-arrest systems.
  • Place guardrails around skylights and place solid covers on roof openings.

Roofers should:

  • Make sure they are trained properly on safety before going on the job.
  • Ask employers to provide sufficient fall protection.
  • Keep at least 10 feet away overhead power lines that are live or may be live.

Check out the fact sheet from OSHA for more tips.



"Paint and Coatings Industry News." Roofer, Construction Deaths on the Rise : Durability + Design News. N.p., 29 Aug. 2013. Web. 2015.

"Leading Causes of Death." Public Health Reports (1896-1970) 67.1 (1952): 90-95. Http:// Web.

"Workplace Fatalities Statistics | Professional Roofing Magazine." Workplace Fatalities Statistics | Professional Roofing Magazine. N.p., n.d. Web. 2015.


© Roselyn Medrano - Best Roofing - Roofing Fatalities. 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Best Roofing and Roofing Fatalities with appropriate and specific direction to the original content

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