SHIRLEY, Mass. — A commercial roofing contractor died after falling from the roof of a barn on Dec. 28 in Massachusetts.
The Shirley Police Department reported that a 25-year-old man was atop a barn around 8:22 a.m. when he fell from the 25-foot gable roof.
When emergency personnel responded, they found the man was unconscious and had serious injuries but was still breathing. According to the Boston Globe, he was transported to the local hospital, but died of cardiac arrest before he could be transported via helicopter to UMass Memorial Medical Center.
“He was obviously a contract worker for a roofing company,” Shirley Police Chief Sam Santiago told MassLive. “They were doing some work at a barn at that address.”
The tragedy is among the numerous roofing fatal falls that have been reported in 2019. This includes an incident in North Carolina, an electrocution and fall in Pennsylvania, a four-story fall in New York, and a 15-year-old Guatemalan’s fatal fall in Alabama.
In the latest report on fatal work injuries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roofers have one of the highest work-related death rates among all other professions. In 2018, the fatal injury rate for roofers was 51.5 per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. The average rate across all occupations is 3.5.
Falls continue to be the leading cause of deaths in the construction industry. In 2018, there were 791 deaths due to falls, 154 of which were falls to lower levels.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has enforced hefty fines on roofing contractors for exposing employees to fall hazards. Ten of the worst violations from 2019 can be found here.