Fatality Narrative: Roofing Contractor Falls 25 Feet From Church Roof

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Washington State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation Program

Summary Statement

The Washington FACE program developed this pdf of a slide show that describes a fatality narrative of a roofing contractor who fell 25 feet from a church roof. After providing the details of the incident, the it presents requirements related to planning, providing, and training employees to avoid similar incidents. It also provides links to two additional resources.


Roof pitch of the garage was determined to be 10/12
(Photo courtesy of NCDOL/OSH)

Incident scene showing the location where roofing
contractor who was not using fall protection fell
from the roof of a church 25 feet to a concrete sidewalk.

On April 19, 2012, a 37-year-old Hispanic male laborer fell approximately 13.5 feet from a residential roof to a concrete driveway; he died immediately from his injuries. The laborer was working with a crew of eight Hispanic workers for a construction subcontractor replacing shingles on a roof accessed by a ladder. At the time of the incident, five workers were on the roof, including the laborer who was out of sight of his coworkers working on the garage side of the home. When the incident occurred, the co-workers heard the laborer hit the ground, rushed to his aid, and called 911. Emergency Medical Services were dispatched to the incident and the laborer was pronounced dead at the scene.



  • Develop and implement a written fall protection work plan that includes each area of the work place where employees are assigned and where hazards of ten feet or more exist.
  • See WAC 296-155-24611(2)(a)


  • Ensure that the appropriate fall protection system is provided, installed, and implemented when employees are exposed to fall hazards of 10 feet or more to the ground or lower level while engaged in roofing work on a low pitched roof. A low pitched roof has a slope equal to or less than 4 in 12.
  • See WAC 296-155-24611(1)(a)


  • Prior to permitting employees into areas where fall hazards exist you must ensure employees are trained and instructed in the items described in the fall protection work plan.
  • See WAC 296-155-24611(2)(b)


Incident scene showing the church roof edge from which the victim fell 25 feet to the sidewalk.


Under specific circumstances, business owner/operators may be exempt from workplace regulations, as was the case in this incident. However, they are advised to follow safe work practices.


Roofing Work.
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

Protecting Roofing Workers. OSHA

This narrative was developed to alert employers and employees of a tragic loss of life of a worker in Washington State and is based on preliminary data ONLY and does not represent final determinations regarding the nature of the incident or conclusions regarding the cause of the fatality.

Developed by WA State Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program and the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH), WA State Dept. of Labor & Industries. The FACE Program is supported in part by a grant from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH grant# 2U60OH008487-11). For more information, contact the Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program, 1-888-667-4277, or visit www.lni.wa.gov/Safety/Research/FACE.

Washington State Department of Labor and industries logo logo for sharplogo for Washington FACE