Fatal falls from roofs among U.S. construction workers

J Safety Res. 2013 Feb:44:17-24. doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2012.08.024. Epub 2012 Dec 9.


Introduction: This study examined trends and patterns of fatal falls from roofs in the U.S. construction industry over an 18-year period (1992-2009), with detailed analysis for 2003-2009.

Methods: Two large national datasets were analyzed: the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries and the Current Population Survey.

Results: Roof fatalities accounted for one-third of fatal falls in construction in 1992-2009. A disproportionately high percentage (67%) of deaths from roof falls occurred in small construction establishments (1-10 employees). Roofers, ironworkers, workers employed with roofing contractors, or working at residential construction sites, had a higher risk of roof fatalities. A higher rate of roof fatalities was also found among younger (<20years) and older (>44years) workers, Hispanics, and immigrant workers.

Conclusion: Roof fatalities corresponded with economic cycles and differed among construction subgroups and worksites.

Impact on industry: Prevention strategies should target high-risk worker groups and small establishments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / mortality*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Construction Industry / statistics & numerical data*
  • Emigrants and Immigrants / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult