Roofing is the fourth most dangerous job in the United States. This is largely due to the requirements of working at great heights and working in extreme weather, such as Texas’ severely hot summer weather. Roofing jobs are considered part of the construction industry, where the leading cause of injury and death is falling. In fact, roofing-related falls were responsible for an average of 34 percent of all fall-related injuries and deaths between 2003 and 2013 in the U.S.
One of the risks roofers must take includes the common hazards of working at all kinds of heights, whether they work on skyscrapers or townhomes. Not only is climbing ladders at various heights dangerous and the equipment sometimes unstable but working with power tools and being surrounded by loud noises can be unsafe. These are hazards roofers endure in their work every day. It should always be of the utmost importance that the employer takes great care in addressing any and all dangers present on a job site so they can inform and train workers thoroughly on roofing safety.
Safety measures roofing employers should follow include:
- Having full fall protection put in place
- Ladder safety and training
- Hand and power tool safety
- Providing eye and face protection
- Providing head protection
- Knowledge of scaffold requirements
- General health and safety provisions
There are more requirements roofing employers must meet, but the above list includes common yet major missteps employers make that cause tragic workplace accidents for roofers. An investigation of an employer or responsible third party’s neglect with regard to any of these standard practices could be helpful in a workplace injury case in which the injured party can potentially receive substantial financial compensation for an on-the-job injury or the family of a loved one who was wrongfully killed at work as the result of a roofing accident. Unfortunately, it’s often the case that these accidents are easily preventable if those in charge followed all applicable state and federal safety regulations and are properly trained and equipped for their workforce.
Common Injuries in Roofing Jobs
There are many factors that can contribute to a roofing injury. Some of the most common injuries workers experience in roofing accidents include:
Falling can occur if roofers are not provided with proper fall protection, personal protective equipment, or work on dangerous ladders or scaffolding. Fall injuries commonly result in broken bones, head trauma, spinal cord injuries, or severe damage to internal organs. Falling is an unpredictable type of injury because it is difficult for a person to control how they fall, what part of the body they land on, and what objects could injure them further that lie on the ground below or fall on top of them from above.
Roofers frequently work in the summer months, increasing the risk of heat exhaustion. After working under the hot Texas sun during the day for hours, roofers can experience dizziness, body weakness (which can lead to other disasters like falling off the roof), excessive sweating, headaches, and nausea and vomiting. These usually sign a roofer is not fit to continue work and should seek medical attention. Often those running the job sites prefer to finish the job, however, and put workers at risk by telling them they have to keep working rather than take breaks or get needed medical help.
Other Weather-Related Injuries
Occasionally, roofers will work in unpredictable weather, such as in rain and lightning. Any amount of rain can make workplaces slippery enough to cause a roofer to fall. Lightning can strike workers as well. If hail suddenly appears while roofers are on a roof, workers should be promptly evacuated from the worksite safely.
Electrical injuries while roofing can occur for a variety of reasons, such as when a worker is not properly trained to handle machinery or power tools or when they come into contact with electrical wires or power lines. Electrocution accidents can lead to the amputation of an appendage, a severe cut that leads to massive blood loss, or even death. The resulting injuries are serious enough to send a worker to the hospital because of the immediate attention they require.
Chemical or Toxic Substance Injuries
When roofers work with tar, this can increase the chances of falling if a worker slips. Hot tar can splash onto a worker’s skin and burn the flesh to any degree of severity, depending on how much tar got on the skin and how hot it was. Burns due to tar can be hard to treat and have lasting effects including permanent scarring and/or disfigurement.
How to Prevent Roofing Accidents
Since roofing is a dangerous industry, employers should take extra caution by keeping up to date with all applicable state and federal safety codes and employing worker training that’s been proven successful. One of the biggest ways an employer can keep their roofers safe is by increasing training. Training should include how to stay safe while on a worksite, how to handle and properly operate tools, how to properly wear protective gear, and how to handle an accident if one does occur.
Houston Roofing Accident Attorneys
After a roofer is injured on the job, the liable parties will likely do their best to deny any responsibility for the accident. They will try to claim the accident was the worker’s own fault, which can prevent the victim or their family from recovering anything. This leaves the victim to not only suffer physically and mentally, not knowing how the accident could affect them physically in the future, but also financially. All workers should feel prepared, thoroughly trained, knowledgeable of their duties, and safe in their work environment. If an employer fails to provide any of these, roofing accidents can lead to serious injury, or worse, death. If you or someone you know has been injured or killed as a result of a roofing or construction accident, you could be entitled to significant financial compensation. There is a limited time to act following a work accident in Texas, so contact the Houston roofing accident attorneys at Dax F. Garza, P.C. today for a free and confidential consultation.