FACEValue: Worker falls through roof, dies

August 28, 2016

Case report: #14KY048*
Issued by: Kentucky Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program
Date of incident: Aug. 7, 2014

A 52-year-old supervisor at a graphite manufacturing plant and another employee were troubleshooting a problem on an outside second-floor area. While checking a pneumatic feed system for clogs, the supervisor disconnected the conveyance line. After not seeing any clogs, he sent the other employee to check the line. The employee was told by the supervisor to turn off the blower after receiving a visual signal from the supervisor. When the employee did not receive the signal, he returned to the work area. The employee heard the supervisor yell and found him on the ground. He had stepped through a rotted area of the roof and fallen roughly 20 feet. He died three weeks later. An investigation later determined that the roof had previously collapsed beneath the feet of at least two other employees (although they did not fall), indicating previous awareness of the hazard.

To prevent similar occurrences:

  • Regularly assess jobsites for structural integrity.
  • Make changes to prevent exposing employees to hazards.
  • Require that railing systems or fall protection always be used when working on roofs.
  • Train new employees on fall protection and proper use of fall protection, and require annual refresher training.