Department of Labor Logo OSHA News Release - Region 2


October 23, 2023

 

US Department of Labor obtains consent injunction requiringNew York contractor to provide employees with fall protection

Seeks to ensure, enforce compliance by serial safety violator ALJ Home Improvement Inc.

NEW YORK – The U.S. Department of Labor has obtained a consent injunction ordering a Rockland County roofing contractor and its principal to provide employees with fall protection equipment and make sure it’s used at all company worksites, as required by federal law. The order finds that, by allowing employees to do roofing work without fall protection, the company is exposing them to imminent danger of death or serious harm.

Since 2019, the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited ALJ Home Improvement Inc. multiple times for fall-related violations, including after company employees suffered fatal falls in 2019 and 2022. In May 2023, ALJ and its owner Jose Lema signed a settlement agreement with OSHA to resolve and affirm willful citations the agency issued in 2021, which includes enhanced provisions for correcting and preventing fall hazards.

Entered in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the injunction requires ALJ and Lema to comply with the enhanced abatement provisions of the settlement agreement, including notifying OSHA of future company jobsites, providing all supervisors with OSHA 30-hour safety training and all employees with OSHA 10-hour safety training, and retaining a qualified safety consultant to develop safety, health and disciplinary programs and conduct worksite inspections. If ALJ or Lema fail to comply with the agreement, the department may file a contempt motion in federal court.

“Falls remain the number one cause of death in construction work, accounting for 351 out of 1,008 construction fatalities in 2020. Reducing that deadly statistic is made more difficult by stubborn employers who knowingly and repeatedly fail to comply with common sense and legally required safeguards,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson in New York.

Read the consent order and injunction.

“These settlement terms provide extra assurance of compliance, enforceable via contempt in district court, given this employer’s history, and underscore the Department of Labor’s commitment to pursuing effective and appropriate legal actions to help ensure that employers correct violations and take substantive steps to prevent them from recurring,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York.

In a separate legal action, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed criminal charges against owner Jose Lema in July 2023 arising from the 2022 worker fatality.

OSHA’s area office in Tarrytown conducted the original inspections. Senior Trial Attorney David J. Rutenberg of the regional solicitor’s office in New York negotiated the settlement and consent injunction.

Learn more about OSHA, fall protection in construction and protecting roofing workers.

 

Media Contacts:

Ted Fitzgerald, 617-565-2075, fitzgerald.edmund@dol.gov
James C. Lally, 617-565-2074, lally.james.c@dol.gov

Release Number: 23-2241-NEW