Why is Roofing One of the Most Dangerous Jobs in the United States?
According to the Electronic Library of Construction Occupational Safety & Health, roofers have the fifth highest death rate in the construction industry. Roofers face many dangers, including slip and fall accidents, electrocution accidents, and even severe burns. Roofing is considered the fourth most dangerous job in the United States. For these reasons, it is important for roofers to learn about the most common job-related hazards and how to prevent them from happening.
What Types of Dangers Do Roofers Encounter While at Work?
Roofing is a dangerous job because of the various hazards involved. Unfortunately, fatalities and accidents are not impossible for workers in the roofing industry. Some of the most common hazards for roofers include slip and falls, electrocutions, and burns. There are many risks roofers face; therefore, it is important that all roofers are well trained and actively trying to prevent the risk of an accident at all times.
One of the most common dangers involved in roofing is slip and fall accidents. According to data composed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 75 percent of fatalities in the roofing industry are caused by fall accidents. Roofers can fall from many high surfaces, including ladders, skylights, and roofs. A slip and fall accident is more likely to occur if an individual has faulty sight and depth perception. Slip and fall accidents can lead to various injuries, including broken bones, torn ligaments, internal organ damage, or serious brain damage from head trauma.
Since roofers often work at extreme heights, it is important that roofers have heightened edge awareness while on the job. Edge awareness is when an individual knows where the end of the roof is located; this is an important skill to learn because it helps to prevent dangerous slip and falls and injuries.
Unfortunately, many roofers are too distracted by their work, and they lose track of where the end of the roof is located; making this mistake can cause serious injuries. Failing to properly identify the edge of the roof and other job-related hazards, like dehydration or fatigue, can lead to serious slips and falls. Slip and falls can lead to catastrophic injuries and fatalities. While on the job, it is important to always be aware of surroundings and maintain focus.
Besides slip and falls, roofers also face electrical hazards. Approximately 11 percent of deaths in the roofing industry are attributed to electrocution. Electrocution can happen if a roofer makes contact with an overhead power line. Other electrical hazards include wiring or transformers. This is especially true if the lines run inside the roof. Finally, roofers should be cautious in storms because of rain that causes slippery surfaces and lightning.
Another hazard roofers face is dealing with hot tar. Hot tar is often used in roofing; therefore, if the tar splashes onto a worker’s skin, it could lead to a severe burn. This type of burn is often hard to treat, adding to its severity.
Finally, another hazard for roofers is heat exhaustion. Roofers often have to deal with extreme weather conditions, including high temperatures because of the blazing sun. This can lead to serious sunburn and heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion can be dangerous, especially if a roofer faints. A slip and fall off the roof could lead to more severe injuries. This is why roofers must be able to identify the symptoms of heat exhaustion quickly
Common symptoms of heat exhaustion include the following:
- Overall body weakness
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
- Flushed skin
- Excessive sweating
- Nausea or vomiting
If a worker recognizes any of these symptoms, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
How Can Roofers Avoid Serious Accidents?
Although roofing is a dangerous job, there are ways to make it safer. For employers, one of the biggest tips is to increase training for roofers. According to a study from the NIOSH, 20 percent of work-related deaths occurred when the worker had less than two months of experience on the job. Roofers should receive training on how to stay safe on the site, how to properly wear protective equipment, and what the procedure is if an accident does occur. This could help prevent or mitigate severe injuries.
One way to prevent a slip and fall accident is through the use of a personal fall arrest system (PFA). A PFA includes a harness that a roofer wears to avoid slip and falls from occurring. The harness latches to a roof anchor by a lanyard. A PFA can save lives, so this system should be provided by a construction site owner at all times. PFAs should be tested regularly and roofers should receive training on how to properly wear and use harnesses.
Another way to prevent serious injuries and fatalities is to prevent electrical hazards. To do this, all equipment should stay away from power lines by at least 10 feet or more. This is a good way to avoid an electrical current passing through equipment, such as a ladder.
Workers should also wear personal protective equipment while handling hot tar. Since hot tar leads to severe burn injuries when it makes contact with the skin, roofers should wear light long sleeves, full pants, and boots. The lid for the tar should also be kept shut when it is not in use.
What Happens if a Roofer is Injured on the Job?
Dealing with work-related injuries can be challenging. Not only is it physically damaging, but it can also be mentally damaging for the victim and his or her family. This is because many severe injuries force workers to take time off of work. This lost time at work, along with expensive medical bills, treatments, or physical therapy, is often debilitating for the entire family. This is why victims should obtain Workers’ Compensation benefits for all injuries.
Workers’ Compensation allows injured employees to receive benefits for economic losses. These benefits can help pay for lost work time and medical expenses. The amount of money one might receive is dependent on his or her weekly salary and the severity of the injury.
It is important to note that roofers looking for Workers’ Compensation benefits do not need to prove liability to obtain these benefits. As long as the injury is work-related, a worker is entitled to Workers’ Compensation.
Additionally, a worker could file a third-party claim for pain and suffering if that party’s negligent actions led to the worker’s injury. Third-parties could include individuals or corporations other than the worker’s employer.
Why Should a Roofer Seek Legal Representation?
Roofing is a dangerous job. When a roofer is severely injured on the job, it could lead to expensive medical bills, treatment expenses, and lost work time. This is why it is important to contact a knowledgeable lawyer after facing an injury in the workplace.
A lawyer can help an injured worker file a claim for Workers’ Compensation and ensure that the worker’s rights are protected. A lawyer can also help a worker with a third-party claim for additional benefits. A work-related injury can cause stress for the victim, so it is important to receive the proper amount of compensation so that the injured worker can focus on recovery.
Philadelphia Construction Job Injury Lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP Help Injured Roofers Receive Compensation for Injuries
If you are an injured roofer, you should contact one of our accomplished Philadelphia construction job injury lawyers at Gross & Kenny, LLP right away. We understand how physically and emotionally damaging an injury can be for you and your family. Our lawyers work tirelessly to ensure injured workers receive compensation. For a free consultation, complete our online form or call us at 215-512-1500. Located in Philadelphia, we advocate for injured workers throughout Pennsylvania.