Construction work is a dangerous job, according to the research and statistics we have seen over the years attributing it to many workplace accidents and fatalities. At our law firm, we have handled many cases for construction workers who have been injured-on-job and our boundaries are limitless when it comes to gaining you the compensation you deserve. Though there are many types of construction accidents, there is one in particular that we want to turn your attention to today: Roofing collapses.
You may wonder just how prevalent roofing collapse injuries and deaths are. Fortunately, the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) keeps a clear incident record of all accidents occurring in the construction workplace. Being aware of these hazards makes it easier for OSHA to help workplaces become safer and more knowledgeable where it is needed the most. OSHA has kept documentation from 2010 to 2014 on roofing collapse accidents that have happened in workplaces. Some of the details surrounding these accidents goes as follows:
- Fractured spine in roof fall
- Fractured Employee’s chests in roof collapse
- Roofing company owner killed in roof fall
- Employee fractures when barn roof collapses
- Employee injured when trusses collapse
- Worker death due to deteriorated roof
Because these accidents are prevalent and happen to this day, you need an attorney on your side to help you when you have become suddenly injured on the job. At Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, we handle your roof collapse incidents because we have experience in construction accident cases. Now you can gain a better understanding of where to start in your case.
Cases Involving Roof Collapse
In 2010, a roof collapsed and left a worker dead at a church in North Carolina. The contractor in charge of the job said that he had no idea how the accident happened, but it occurred when workers were nailing two-by-fours onto roof trusses to stabilize the structure. 32 out of the 49 trusses crumbled in on themselves. The contractor commented on the incident, “It’s a freak accident. I’ve been setting trusses for 30 years and have never had anything like this happen.” The trusses fell right from the building and onto a worker who was operating machinery.
In another accident happening a few years later, four workers were working on a salt shed when the roof and upper walls collapsed. Just this year, the legalities surrounding the case were settled after the workers sustained injuries. The men were able to return to work; unfortunately, this is not the case for everyone involved in these accidents as we can see from the first incident.
Reducing the Possibility of Incidents
Roof collapses happen every year in every state, sometimes due to accidents and some due to just plain negligence. Understanding why these accidents happen means that we can work to prevent them from occurring in the first place, also preventing injuries and fatalities in construction. Here are some of the most common reasons why these accidents occur:
- Weight: Sometimes new additions such as HVAC units and roof coverings can increase the load on the roof, adding to unnecessary stress.
- Projections: Some factors work to create areas where ice and snow can collect during windy storms, such as roof equipment, changes in roof elevation, vents, and more. Perhaps the design of the roof did not account for the load, which means that it could collapse.
- Clogged Drains and Gutters: Clogged drains can prevent water from rain or melted snow to leave the buildings. If rain collects, it can become trapped on a roof because the drains are typically frozen.
- Ice Dams: Ice dams occur when heat melts snow on the roof and refreezes, blocking off sections. Ice dams can lead to water forcing itself inside the building structure, which can cause mold, rotted wood, mildew, mold, and more. Rotting roof structures can be weakened and the load capacity of the roof may be compromised.
- Age: Because of age, a roof can rot and collapse in time. Deterioration will occur as well as water leakage.
When the design of a roof is considered, an architect must also take into consideration that snowfall will occur in the winter season. This means that they must correctly estimate how much weight a roof can support. Roofs can hold a lot of snow in many cases, unless the structure is damaged or decayed. The building designs are directly correlated to how much loading a roof will be able to handle.
All of these reasons are why it is a good idea to have somebody constantly inspecting the roof of structures at construction sites. There are many ways in which an inspector would be able to detect that a roof collapse is about to occur. For instance, they may see sagging roof steel or cracked roof members. They may witness sprinkler heads pushed down beneath ceiling tiles, windows that are difficult to open, bowed utility pipes, and creaking or cracking sounds. Early detection can lead to better results and less injuries.
Liability for a Roof Collapse
When you have been injured in a construction incident such as a roof collapse, you may wonder who can be held liable for your injuries. However, there are some questions you must ask yourself first: What were the conditions of the accident site? What equipment was involved? Who had control over the site? Who do you work for? Only then can you move forward with your accident case and determine the liable party or parties. There are many parties who are commonly determined at-fault for these accidents, including:
- Your employer
- The general contractor
- Independent contractors
- Coworkers handling equipment
- Owner of the property
- Manufacturers involved with the tools and equipment
Roofing accidents, as you have found, can cause very serious injuries and fatalities. The conditions that you work in will sometimes determine fault in your accident, which is why it is wise to speak to an attorney you can trust about the details surrounding your case. At Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi, we have handled many construction cases. They are very important to us and we will take your case seriously, assessing it from start to finish and allowing you to compensate for your injuries. Give us a call today so we can speak immediately!