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OSHA News Release – Region 4
U.S. Department of Labor
Region 4 News Release: USDOL: 01-126
Thurs., August 2, 2001
Contact: Johnny Burroughs
Phone: (334) 441-6131
OSHA CITES ALABAMA ROOFING CONTRACTOR AND PROPOSES PENALTIES TOTALING $112,700 FOLLOWING INVESTIGATION OF FATAL ACCIDENT
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- The U.S. Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Michael Thornton Roofing for alleged safety violations and proposed penalties totaling $112,700 after investigating the Feb. 4 death of a teenager at a Montgomery construction site.
The 14-year-old youth -who had been hired the morning of the accident- was pulling material from a roof by hand when he lost his balance and fell backwards through an unguarded skylight to the concrete floor approximately 12 feet below. He died the next day. Following the accident, company officials covered the opening where the accident occurred but left five other skylights unguarded and allowed employees to continue working in those areas and near unguarded roof edges.
OSHA cited the company for two alleged willful safety violations with proposed penalties totaling $98,000 for failing to protect employees from fall hazards by installing guards around skylights and the roof's edge.
"Falls are a leading cause of death and injury for construction workers," Lana Graves, OSHA's Mobile area director said. "This employer knew how to protect and train employees but decided that production was more important than protection -- with tragic results."
The agency also issued three alleged serious citations with proposed penalties totaling $11,200 for failing to: properly train employees before allowing them to engage in roofing work; protect employees from fall hazards when they removed old skylights and placed plywood over the opening, and develop a written program to protect workers from hazardous chemicals, such as asphalt, used at the job site.
In addition, the company received a $3,500 penalty for failing to report the fatality within eight hours.
The Prattville-based roofing company has 15 working days to contest OSHA's citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Inspection of the worksite was conducted by staff from the Mobile OSHA area office located at 3737 Government Blvd., Suite 100; phone: (334) 441-6131.
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