OSHA Cites Ohio Roofing Contractor After 14-Year-Old Suffers Critical Injuries in Fall

March 16, 2021
OSHA Cites Ohio Roofing Contractor After 14-Year-Old Suffers Critical Injuries in Fall

WEST FARMINGTON, Ohio — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited an Ohio roofing contractor after investigations revealed a 14-year-old boy working on a roof fell and suffered serious injuries.

According to a release from OSHA, the boy was working on the roof of a Berea, Ohio townhome without required fall protection and suffered critical injuries when he fell 20-feet to the ground. Immediately following this incident, the company’s owner and three other workers put on personal fall arrest equipment to complete the roofing work in an apparent attempt to conceal the fact that fall protection was not in use at the time of the injury. The equipment had been in the employer’s job trailer onsite when the boy fell.

OSHA states Double M Roofing & Construction LLC owner Melvin Schmucker attempted to hide the company’s safety failures, but footage from a nearby security camera showed the boy and three other employees working without fall protection equipment on Dec. 17, 2020.

The Berea Police Department released footage related to the incident. In its report on the incident, NBC-affiliated WDTN showed video of the incident (see below) as well as 911 recordings. The footage also allegedly shows members of the roofing crew putting on safety gear after the incident occurred that was sitting in their trailer.

“A guy on a roofing crew just fell off of a roof,” the caller told 911 operators. “He’s unconscious. He’s unresponsive in the driveway.”

Sixteen days later, OSHA inspectors observed Schmucker and four Double M employees installing roofing materials on a residential roof more than 22 feet off the ground in Hinckley, again without using necessary fall protection equipment.

Following inspections of both job sites, OSHA has proposed penalties of $73,533 to the West Farmington contractor and issued citations for two willful, three serious and one other-than-serious violations of OSHA’s safety standards. The agency determined the company allowed employees to work without fall and facial protection, failed to train employees about fall hazards, and did not report the injury to OSHA, as required.

“All too often, OSHA inspectors responding to reports of roofers without fall protection find the employer has the safety equipment on-site and refuses to ensure its use,” said OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts in Cleveland. “Exposure to fall hazards makes roofing work among the most dangerous jobs in construction. OSHA requires fall protection when working at heights greater than 6 feet.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA and construction industry stakeholders will join for The National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, May 3-7, 2021. OSHA encourages employers to use its Stop Falls online resource, which includes detailed information on fall protection standards in English and Spanish.

Roofing contractors should pay heed to this recent rash of incident reports and take the proper precautions so they don’t end up making headlines like these: