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Why is Roofing Such a Dangerous Job in New York?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 96% of all roofing deaths are fall-related. This should hardly come as a surprise, especially when you consider the fact that roofers often operate at considerable heights. Statistics also show that the chances of fatality increase exponentially with increasing heights. Almost 50% of all roofer deaths occur after falls of more than 25 feet. To some extent, the reason roofing is such a dangerous job should be obvious. However, the hazards associated with this job may also be slightly more complex than they seem at first glance.

Employer Negligence Can Cause Accidents

To some extent, roofing is an inherently dangerous job because of the heights involved. However, employer negligence and misconduct can make this job needlessly dangerous. On July 25, 2023, the Justice Department reported that a roofing company principal had been arrested for failing to protect a roofer who fell to his death. This individual had founded a roofing company in New York, but he had failed to provide workers with proper fall protection systems for many years. This employer’s negligence was so great that he faced criminal charges – including a maximum sentence of six months in prison. The roofer who passed away was allegedly wearing a harness that was not connected to the roof or any other safety system at the time of his fatal fall.

Lack of Clear Safety Policies

Many roofers also face serious hazards because there is no clear safety policy in place. For example, they may not know how to react when a fellow worker falls. The Department of Health clearly states that all workers need to memorize the address of the work site, as this allows them to quickly call 9-1-1 with the correct information for immediate assistance. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide employees with this training, as well as a clear policy.

Weather Conditions

In addition, the Department of Health points out that weather conditions can make roofing especially dangerous. Employers should plan ahead for adverse weather conditions, especially high winds and rain. These conditions can cause increased fall hazards due to slippery surfaces and wind.

The Scaffold Law

It is worth pointing out that when a roofer falls in New York, they can sue their employer directly. Although employees are normally prohibited from suing their employers directly, New York has an age-old exception known as the Scaffold Law. As long as the accident was gravity-related, employers may be strictly liable.

Where Can I Find a Workers’ Comp Attorney in New York?

If you have been searching for an experienced workers’ comp attorney in New York, look no further than the Glassman Law Group. Injured roofers should immediately pursue compensation under workers’ comp. If your workers’ comp claim has already been denied, you can appeal it with help from a workers’ comp attorney in New York. Families of deceased roofers may also pursue compensation through a workers’ comp claim. Book your consultation today to discuss your options in more detail.


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