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Region 1 News Release: 10-1752-BOS/BOS 2010-507
Dec. 20, 2010
Contact: Ted Fitzgerald
Phone: 617-565-2074

US Labor Department's OSHA cites North Reading, Mass., roofing contractor
for fall and scaffolding hazards at Melrose, Mass., worksite
O'Keefe Roofing faces more than $41,000 in proposed fines

ANDOVER, Mass. – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited O'Keefe Roofing, a North Reading, Mass., roofing contractor, for repeat and serious safety hazards at a Melrose, Mass., jobsite. The company faces a total of $41,580 in proposed fines, chiefly for fall and scaffolding hazards, after an OSHA inspector observed O'Keefe Roofing employees working without fall protection while installing a new roof at 12 Batchelder St.

OSHA's inspection determined that employees lacked fall protection while working on the roof, on a ladderjack scaffold and while using a ladder that did not extend at least 3 feet above the roof's edge for required stability. The inspection also found that the scaffold was erected in close proximity to an energized power line, was more than the maximum allowed height of 20 feet and was improperly constructed. In addition, the employees lacked sufficient training to be able to identify scaffolding and fall hazards.

"The danger of fall hazards cannot be understated. Falls are the leading cause of death in construction work," said Jeffrey A. Erskine, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties in Massachusetts. "When fall protection is absent, workers can be only seconds away from a deadly or disabling plunge. The employer must take effective steps to ensure that proper safeguards are in place and in use at all jobsites."

As a result of its inspection, OSHA issued O'Keefe Roofing five serious citations with $23,100 in fines for the scaffolding and training hazards, and two repeat citations with $18,480 in fines for the rooftop and ladder fall hazards. OSHA issues a serious citation 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. The repeat citations stem from OSHA's having cited the company in September 2008 for similar hazards at a North Andover, Mass., jobsite.

O'Keefe Roofing has 15 business days from receipt of its citations to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The inspection was conducted by OSHA's Andover Area Office, telephone 978-837-4460. To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

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 assure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit


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