WEST FARMINGTON, OH – A 14-year-old boy working on the roof of a Berea townhome without required fall protection suffered critical injuries when he fell 20-feet to the ground. Immediately following this serious 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.
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.
Sixteen days later, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration 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,” explained 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.”
To raise awareness of these dangers, 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. The site offers fact sheets, posters and videos that illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.
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.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. Learn more about OSHA.