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News Sept. 20, 2023

Improperly installed roof anchors contributed to Washington roofing worker’s death

A 35-year-old roofer died while constructing the leading edge of the metal roof of a warehouse, according to a report from the Washington State Fatality Assessment & Control Evaluation Program. He had worked for the contractor at a previous location and was part of a nine-member crew installing a low-slope roof.

A week before the incident, the crew had installed anchors and nine lifelines on the roof. On the day of the incident, the crew used a boom-supported elevating work platform to reach the rooftop, and all crew members wore full-body harnesses. When it started to rain, the workers used the platform to get down and left their lifelines about 20 feet from where they got off the roof. When the rain stopped, they used the platform to get back on the roof, and the roofing worker was walking toward his lifeline when he fell 33 feet from the unprotected edge and died at the scene.

Investigators found the following:

  • Fall-protection equipment was not properly installed and used, specifically: roof anchors installed with unapproved and fewer screws than specified by the manufacturer; multiple lifelines attached to a single anchor; and lifelines connected together and wrapped around beams.
  • The employer did not have a required fall-protection work plan on-site.
  • A walk-around safety inspection had not been documented.

To help prevent similar incidents, FACE investigators concluded employers should develop policies that require workers to always remain attached to lifelines and to place lifelines so workers are able to reattach and maintain 100% tie-off when they move between platforms and other surfaces. Employers also should provide and frequently reinforce training regarding proper use of fall-protection equipment, emphasizing the need to always attach before detaching when switching lifelines.

NRCA’s classes, webinars and products offer information to ensure you can keep your employees safe on job sites. For more information, visit NRCA’s bookstore and course catalog or contact Rich Trewyn, NRCA’s director of risk education and training, at (847) 493-7575 or


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