According to the United States Bureau of Labor statistics, roofing is one of the most dangerous occupations in the country. Serious accidents can happen at any time, and because roofers almost invariably work at considerable heights, the resulting injuries can be permanently disabling and even fatal: an estimated 50 roofers are killed on the job every year.
Common causes of roofing accidents
Some of the more common causes of roofing accidents in New York include:
- Unsafe working conditions: Workers often slip on wet or slick surfaces, fall off a poorly maintained ladder, or trip over tools, debris and raised areas on the roof. When there are no guardrails around the roof’s perimeter, they even can fall off the edge to the ground below. In some cases areas of the roof may be so rotted that they fall through.
- Inadequate training: Some project owners and contractors are so desperate to get a delayed job going at last that they hire novice personnel and fail to train them properly before putting them to work.
- No safety equipment: Due to perceived budget constraints or genuine ignorance, owners and employers fail to provide roofers with safety equipment such as harnesses, fall arrest systems, and even gloves, respiratory masks, and goggles.
Other injury risks regularly faced by roofers include:
- Heat stroke during the summer
- Puncture wounds from nail guns and exposed nails
- Toxic fumes from tar and other substances
- Burns from hot roofing materials
- Exposure to live wires (an estimated 11% of roofing industry fatalities were due to electrocution)
When a roofer is especially high off the ground, the risk of catastrophic injury and even death increases. Three-quarters of all roofing industry fatalities are caused by falls, which also happened to account for close to 40% of all construction industry deaths in 2014. Other injuries include:
- Skin lacerations and deep bruising
- Broken bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
Many of these incidents are caused by complacency. Employers and even workers start to rely more on personal experience than safety protocols and equipment to keep them safe. When you’re working in a hazardous occupation like roofing, nothing should be left solely to instinct. It is essentially to comply with all OSHA regulations regarding roofing industry safety.
If you were injured in a roofing accident caused by carelessness or negligence on the part of the project owner, contractor, or a subcontractor, then contact a Bronx personal injury attorney who can help you determine who was at fault and therefore liable. The physical, emotional, and financial toll that a roofing accident can take on your well-being cannot be underestimated, and an experienced attorney will help you get the resources you need to recover. Jayson Lutzky is an experienced premises and construction work accident lawyer. If you were injured at work, then call 718-329-9500 to arrange for a free in-person initial consultation.