PENSACOLA, FL – Unaware of the danger, a 59-year-old roofer working atop a Milton airport hangar on Oct. 25, 2022, stepped onto a skylight and its sudden collapse caused the worker to fall 25 feet to the concrete floor below. The injured roofer died four days later.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an inspection at the Peter Prince Field Airport and determined that Porter Roofing Contractors Inc. failed to ensure the 13-member crew working on the roof that day used fall protection as required by federal law. The skylight was being prepped for removal as part of the project.

OSHA also found the company failed to regularly inspect job sites, materials and equipment, which exposed workers to electrical, struck-by, and fall hazards, and failed to report a work-related employee hospitalization to OSHA within 24 hours.

OSHA issued a citation to Porter Roofing Contractors for four serious violations with $53,797 in proposed penalties.

“Porter Roofing Contractors made a fateful decision to overlook federal fall protection standards and it cost a worker their life,” said OSHA Area Director Jose Gonzalez in Mobile, Alabama. “Falls are a leading cause of serious injuries and death in the construction industry. There simply is no excuse for a company not to make sure every worker is equipped and trained properly.”

In 2021, the number of work-related fatalities in Florida totaled 315, an increase from the previous year. Falls, slips, and trips was the second-most frequent fatal work event with 69 fatalities.

The employer was also inspected by South Carolina OSHA in May 2019 and was issued a citation for failing to utilize fall protection, which became a final order Sept. 23, 2019.

Based in Morrison, Tennessee, Porter Roofing Contractors Inc. also has two other Tennessee locations in Murfreesboro and Chattanooga, as well as in Milton, Florida, and Martinez, Georgia. It employs 175 workers.

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. Learn more about OSHA and fall protection.

Visit OSHA’s website for information on developing a workplace safety and health program. Employers can also contact the agency for information about OSHA’s compliance assistance resources and for free help on complying with OSHA standards.

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