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Rochester Roofing Company Fined For Endangering Workers

Published January 29, 2013 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

A Rochester-based roofing contractor is facing nearly $160,000 in fines for willful and serious workplace safety violations – including exposing workers to fall hazards.

The action was taken by the Occupational Safety & Health Administration against A.M. Stern Inc. The violations occurred while the company was installing a roof on O’Connor Road in Fairport.

There were 4,609 workplace fatalities in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This averages out to almost 90 workers killed weekly – or nearly 13 deaths every day.

Following is from OSHA:

On two occasions during the investigation, OSHA inspectors observed Stern employees exposed to falls of 15 to 30 feet while working at the unprotected edges of the building’s roof. The designated safety monitor on-site was not positioned close enough to employees working in unprotected sections, so that he could warn them about the fall hazards.

As a result, OSHA issued A.M. Stern one willful citation with a $70,000 fine for the lack of fall protection and one repeat citation, also with a $70,000 fine, for the improperly located safety monitor.

The contractor was also issued five serious citations, carrying $19,250 in fines, for not providing medical evaluations and training for employees required to wear respirators, allowing an untrained employee to operate a forklift, not providing employees with information and training on hazardous chemicals, and for the safety monitor’s failure to warn employees of fall hazards. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

A “willful” workplace safety violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

A “repeat” violation occurs when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation within the last five years. A similar violation was issued in August 2008 at a Geneseo worksite.

OSHA has created a Stop Falls Web page at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls. It includes information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.

The citation can be viewed online here.

The leading causes of worker deaths on construction sites in 2011 were falls, followed by electrocution and being struck by objects.

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