WSH Alert: Fatal Fall from Roof

Fatal Fall from Roof Incident

A worker was dismantling roofing sheets at a height of about 12 metres when he fell and landed on the ground. The worker was conveyed to the hospital where he eventually succumbed to his injuries.


Persons in control of workplaces and work activities such as occupiers and employers, who are involved in works on roofs, are advised to consider the following risk control measures to prevent similar accidents:

Safe Work Method:

• Refrain from walking or performing other tasks while operating the remote control. Always de-energise the remote control when not in use. This is to avoid accidental activation of the remote control (e.g. if the controls hit against surrounding objects) which can result in unintended movement of the crane.

• Should there be roof access areas that need to be removed in the course of the work (e.g. removal of a roofing sheet for replacement), ensure that each roof opening is suitably (or barricaded) and affixed with warning signs to highlight the danger

Safe Roof Access and Egress:

• If work on top of a roof is unavoidable, careful planning is required to provide safe and proper means (e.g. by erecting scaffold access) for workers to get to and exit feom rooftop work location

• For safer access and work on fragile roofs, the use of crawl boards and roof ladders should be deployed to prevent workers from stepping directly on the surface of the fragile roof.

Edge Protection:

• Put in place suitable on-site measures to prevent workers from falling off the edge of a roof. Possible temporary edge protection measures include the installation of guardrails or scaffold barriers.


• A Permit-To-Work (PTW) system should be implemented for every roof work activity where workers can potentially fall from a height of more than 3 metres.

Fall Prevention Plan:

• Develop and implement a site-specific Fall Prevention Plan (FPP) to manage the risk of falling from heights while working on a roof. The FPP should include (but not limited to) hazard identification, risk assessment, risk control measures, safe work procedures, fall prevention equipment to be put in place, emergency response plan, etc. Refer to the Code of Practice for Working Safely at Height for guidance on developing a FPP.

Fall Protection:

• Educate workers on the importance of anchoring their full body harness or travel restraint belt to a secure anchorage point or lifeline at all times when working at height. Where appropriate, consider the use of double lanyard harnesses and 100% tie-off where at least one lanyard is to be anchored to the lifeline at any time.

• If there is a risk of a worker falling through the roof, install a safety mesh or safety net (capable of preventing a person from falling through) either directly on top of or underneath the fragile roof area.

Work at Height Training:

• Ensure that all workers have completed the relevant safety orientation course(s) and received adequate training on work at height prior to commencing work. Every worker assigned to work at height must be familiar with the hazards of working at height, the necessary precautions to be taken, and safe and correct use of the travel restraint/ fall arrest system.

On-site Supervision:

• Provide adequate supervision by a competent person for all work at height activities to ensure that workers adhere to the safe work method at all times. Supervisors must complete and pass the Work at Height Course for Supervisors in order to qualify as a competent person.

RoofSAFE Contractor Scheme:

• All roofing contractors and companies whose work scope involves roof-work or roof access are encouraged to get on board the RoofSAFE Contractor Scheme in order to build capability in roof work safety management.

Risk Assessment:

Conduct a thorough Risk Assessment for all work activities to manage any foreseeable risk that may arise during the course of work. The Risk Assessment should cover but not limited to the following areas:

Provision of secure anchorage point:

• All lifeline anchors and anchor points must be assessed for suitability and security before use. Single point anchor devices (e.g. an eyebolt) and flexible horizontal lifeline systems should be installed and tested in accordance to SS 570: 2011 Personal protective equipment for protection against falls from height – Single point anchor devices and flexible horizontal lifeline systems.

Changes in weather condition:

• Rooftop works should not be carried out on rainy days when the roof surfaces are slippery, when there is strong wind, or when it is too dark for the work to be carried out safely. Employee fitness for work:

• Workers must be medically fit for the job and not on any medication that may impair their ability to work (e.g. due to drowsiness or giddiness). Workers who are afraid of heights should not be assigned to work on roofs.

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