The U.S. Occupational Health & Safety Administration is cracking down on roofing safety violations, as a string of high-profile cases in the last few months demonstrates:
- St. Louis, Mo.: Roofing contractor KG Framing and Construction LLC, cited for 12 safety violations, including one willful and three repeat, for failing to provide roofers with protection from falls. Proposed fines total $121,480.
- Salina, Ks.: Ryan Roofing Inc. cited after a worker suffered a broken neck and was paralyzed when he fell 20 feet from the roof of a commercial building. Proposed fines total $115,500
- Lemont, Ill.: Roofing contractor, Woodridge Enterprises Inc., cited for eight safety violations, including three repeat, for lack of protection from falls at a residential job site. Proposed fines total $47,960.
- Milford, Conn: Amilicar Samper Perez, doing business as Roof Systems of Connecticut, cited for alleged repeat and serious violations of workplace safety standards. Proposed fines total $44,880
- Ridgefield, NJ: Conte Roofing Co. Inc., cited for two repeat and four serious violations, including fall hazards. Proposed fines total $57,300
OSHA officials will argue it shouldn't be about the money; it's about the safety of workers. Falls from roofs reportedly account for one-third of construction fall fatalities. In general, falls are the leading cause of fatalities in construction. Nevertheless, the scale of these fines is extreme, due in part to repeat violations. Fines levied against contractors increases with the number of citations. Citations of this magnitude could permanently bury many roofing companies, and contractors may want to explore how to exercise their rights in this webinar by the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA).
The cases come right at the time the temporary enforcement measures for residential fall protection expired. OSHA apparently outlasted the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), which had lobbied hard for different fall protection rules for residential construction in the past. Moving forward under the circumstances, the NRCA is now offering free fall-protection courses.