OHS Canada Magazine

Calgary worker killed in fall from roof

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December 8, 2015
By Jeff Cottrill

Compliance & Enforcement Health & Safety alberta calgary fatal accident ministry of jobs skills training and labour occupational health and safety roofer workplace fatality

Roofer, 54, worked for company hired by lumber firm

(Canadian OH&S News) — A 54-year-old male worker has died in a hospital following a fall from a roof at a business in Calgary, according to information from the Alberta Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour.

The accident occurred at some time before 11 a.m. on the morning of Dec. 2, said Christine Wronko, a media representative for the Ministry.

“A roofer was at a commercial roofing renovation project, and for whatever reasons, he fell,” she said, specifying that he had fallen from a height of about 2.7 metres. The man was transported to the hospital and subsequently died of his injuries, she added.

Occupational health and safety authorities were notified of the accident at about 10:45 a.m., as were local emergency medical services (EMS).

“There’s been a stop-work order issued for that site, and of course, oh&s continues to investigate,” said Wronko.


A media statement from EMS spokesperson Adam Loria noted that the cause of the fatality was still undetermined as of Dec. 2.

“It is unclear at this point, at least from an EMS perspective, if a medical episode precipitated the fall, or the relationship of this individual to the workplace,” said Loria in the statement. “It is also unclear if safety mechanisms were being utilized.”

Wronko was also unaware of whether the victim had been equipped with a fall-protection system. “That’ll be part of the investigation as well,” she said.

The incident happened at the headquarters of McLean Lumber Sales Ltd., a lumber company in southeast Calgary. A source with the firm told COHSN that the victim had not been employed with McLean.

“We just hired a roofing company to come in to do our roof on our office here. So it was one of their employees,” the source said. “So it had nothing to do with us, ourselves, other than it was in our business here.

“We were all inside; none of us were part of it or were aware of it.”

Neither the McLean source nor Wronko could confirm the name of the roofing company that had employed the deceased worker.

“We’re trying to determine who his employer was,” said Wronko.

Although it is a standard recommendation in Canada that anyone working at a height of three metres or more must wear fall protection, it is worth noting that this fatality occurred at an even lower height. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety (CCOHS) in Hamilton, Ont. advises employers who require fall protection for workers to establish a complete fall-protection program that includes training as well as selection, fitting and inspection of all equipment.

“Every piece of fall-arrest equipment should be inspected and certified at least yearly or more often by a trained and competent person,” CCOHS states on its website. “Keep written records of inspections and approvals.”


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