OSHAThis true tragedy is taken from the files of NIOSH’s Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) program:

A 17-year-old female laborer fell about 26 feet from a residential roof to a stone patio. Nine days later she died from her injuries. The victim was working for a construction company replacing a residential roof. (How common is this work? You and friends may have done this yourself.)

The victim unloaded bales of roofing shingles from a construction box that was raised and attached to a forklift. The victim unloaded the bales and placed them on a wooden plank above her on the roof. The victim then sat on the plank and handed the bales to one of the owners of the company and a male laborer.

While on the roof, one of the owners and the male laborer heard a “thud.” They looked over at the plank, but did not see the victim. At the edge of the roof they looked down and saw the victim lying face down on the stone patio.

While climbing down from the roof the owner yelled to the other owner in the yard area to check on the victim. He called 911 for help once on the ground. The victim was lying unconscious and her head was bleeding profusely.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and the state police were dispatched to the incident. The victim was transported via ambulance to an area hospital, where she was stabilized. She was then airlifted to another hospital where she remained unconscious in critical condition. She died from her injuries nine days later.

The victim was the only minor working for the company. This she did as a summer job. She was hired because she was a friend’s relative.

It was the second summer the victim had worked for this company, and on approximately ten occasions she had worked on roofs. At the time of the incident, the victim wore a t-shirt, dungaree shorts and work boots.

Further interviews and research discovered that the company did not have any kind of written safety and health program and workers did not receive training.