Snow-laden roofs in New England endanger lives of untrained, ill-equipped shovelers
A relative of a badly injured teen who fell through a skylight while shoveling snow on the rooftop of a Westwood, Mass., business said it’s time for everyone to get off the roof — it’s just too dangerous, according to an article in the Boston Herald.
“It’s not worth it. It’s not worth it. Let the building collapse — let the roof collapse. Don’t go up on the roof,” the boy’s relative told the paper. The boy was at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston after surgery in which doctors removed his appendix and repaired his colon.
The 17-year-old high school junior fell 30 feet when a snow-covered skylight shattered underneath him at Frugal Fannie’s Fashion Warehouse in Westwood just after 9 a.m. on a wintry morning in snowbound New England. He landed on a metal coat rack that impaled his abdomen, severing part of his colon and damaging his appendix, leaving shards in his abdomen after it shattered on his hip, according to the article.
“He’s got a long road ahead of him,” the relative told the paper. “They took out his appendix. They repaired his colon. There was a lot of internal bleeding. ... The coat rack saved his life. He landed on his hip, but the hip bone saved the piercing from being worse. It slowed it down, it only got his stomach and his colon,” the family member said.
The boy, whose name is being withheld by the Herald, was airlifted to Boston. The family member called the two-hour drive from the teen’s home in New Hampshire “pure hell.”
At Frugal Fannie’s, the site of the incident, Westwood Deputy Fire Chief Michael Reardon pointed to two other crews clearing snow off of adjacent businesses. “There’s two examples. One on both sides of us. Go take a look at how they’re protected,” Reardon told the paper, citing the need for safety lines and harnesses.
OSHA is investigating the teen’s fall.
Other falling shovelers
There have been at least 164 collapsed or damaged buildings since Feb. 9, according to the Herald. Canton, Mass., has had three reported injuries from falls off roofs while clearing snow since Feb. 18, including on Sunday when a man was killed when he fell through a skylight while inspecting snow removal on a warehouse.
The owner of a roofing company told the paper that contractors who are not properly trained to go on roofs and shovel snow are endangering lives.
“Most of the people falling off are probably not roofers; most are probably landscapers, contractors or carpenters… They don’t do it every day. They’re doing it for a quick buck,” he told the Boston Herald. He added that workers need to use ropes and harnesses.
“I’m not surprised by how many people are falling through skylights. Because skylights are covered in snow, they can’t be seen, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the building,” he said.
The teen’s relative said the boy was on vacation from school and working for extra cash. He said the boy and other workers were up there with no harnesses or ropes.
“They’re recruiting kids all over the place to shovel, all these companies hiring people to shovel,” the boy’s relative said in the article.
Source: Boston Herald