Fatality File: Roofer Falls to His Death
A 22-year-old roofer fell approximately 22 feet (6.7 meters) off the edge of a roof onto concrete and died.
The worker leaned over the side of the roof to nail a piece of felt that was flapping. He placed his hand onto the felt, which had no support underneath, then fell over the roof. He was wearing a fall restraint harness and was dragging the ropes behind him. However, he was not connected to the anchorage point. His brother witnessed the fall and end of the roofer’s short life.
If you are performing jobs that require the use of fall arrest or restraint, under what situations have you allowed the protection not to be used? Is it when “the job will only take a minute,” or when “it has been done before without the belts and we didn’t fall then?”
Neither answer is an excuse for not using the safety equipment. Always use fall protection and ensure it is connected to an anchorage point, otherwise it is useless.
Like this roofer, all employees need to be taught when and how to properly use safety equipment. It cannot be repeated too many times: safety equipment that isn’t used properly is equivalent to no safety equipment.