Construction Worker Killed by Fall on Unsafe Worksite


Construction Safety Expert WitnessThis case takes place in South Dakota and involves rotting roof conditions which resulted in a wrongful death action. The area where the accident took place was a work site shared by employees of the defendants. The defendants were aware of the rotting condition of the roof, yet they took no additional safety measures to ensure employee safety at the site. In spite of their failure to improve safety conditions at the site, the defendant still sent an employee, the decedent, to work on the roof. The decedent fell through the roof at a height of 26 feet 1 inch, killing the employee upon impact with the concrete flooring below. The plaintiff alleges that the defendants were intentionally negligent in their duties to maintain a safe work environment. They also claim that the defendants violated federal and state OSHA regulations, including: the failure of each section of the wood and deck working surface over the entire project; the failure to provide fall protection to employees demolishing an existing wood deck, which exposed employees to a possible 26 foot fall to the concrete floor below; as well as the failure to complete an engineering survey of the structure and equipment – conducted by a trained and competent person with knowledge of demolition, as well as the condition of the foundation, roof, walls, and floors of the facility.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. What is your experience in commercial roof projects?
  • 2. How do you ensure a safe workplace?
  • 3. What is the proper procedure when discovering deficient working conditions?

Expert Witness Response E-007783

I have 10 years of experience with commercial roof projects. A safe workplace can be determined by various standards including OSHA, NRCA, and RCI. Typically, each construction company should have their own guidelines. We use safety training classes as well as safety protocols. If deficient working conditions are found, there should be an established chain of command to report through.

Expert Witness Response E-007784

I have worked on numerous projects involving commercial roofs, including K-12 schools, universities, retail buildings, automotive plants, and infrastructure buildings. We have an extensive safety program (Zero Harm) and training in place. To summarize key parts of our safety program, employees receive applicable OSHA and industry training, annual web based training, a behavioral based safety program, monthly health and safety meetings, individual Jobsite Analysis (JSA), health and safety plans for each individual project, medical screening and testing, and drug testing. If I noticed deficient working conditions, I would immediately stop work and contact my direct supervisor, at which point we would coordinate a plan of action involving the client directly.

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