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Repeat Violations Seen in Fatal Fall

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

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A Nebraska contractor says he will fight a $70,000 federal fine imposed in the death of one of his employees, even though he has been cited for the same violations before.

Ghaleb N. Suleiman, owner of JMA Roofing of Bennington, NE, said in an interview Tuesday (Nov. 5) that Darrell Anglen, 53, of Council Bluffs, and a co-worker had been up on a roof without Suleiman's knowledge July 17 when Anglen fell three stories to a lower roof and died.

The men had been working on an unoccupied building in Omaha's historic Old Market area downtown.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued one repeat and one other-than-serious safety violation against Suleiman in the accident and proposed a fine of $70,000.

Old Market roofer fatality
KMTV screen grab

Firefighters retrieve the body of Darrell Anglen after his fatal three-story fall in July.

The repeat violation stems from a 2010 case, in which JMA was issued five serious citations for a variety of violations, including lack of fall protection and lack of training. The company paid a total of $4,000 in fines in that case, OSHA records show.

The company was also cited in 2006 for a fall protection violation.

Lack of fall protection and lack of training are also alleged in the current case, according to OSHA documents.

Employer Protests

Neither Anglen nor a co-worker was wearing fall protection when they were replacing the roof's rubber membrane and Anglen slipped over the roof edge about 5:30 p.m. that day, Omaha police said. The membrane, ethylene propylene diene monomer, is often used for water resistance.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Suleiman said that he had provided the necessary safety equipment on the roof, but "I didn't know he was up there."

Suleiman accused Anglen and his co-worker, who did not fall, of being "under the influence" but could not say of what and offered no evidence to support the accusation. He said that the two men had stayed on the roof after the workday ended.

"I had no idea he was working that day," Suleiman said.

Old Market - Omaha
Wikimedia Commons / Bobak Ha'Eri

Darrell Anglen and a co-worker were top a building in Omaha's Old Market district when Anglen fell more than 30 feet. Their boss says he didn't know they were there.

Suleiman said he would contest the fine because it was "too high."

'Unacceptable'

As OSHA official disagreed.

"It's unacceptable that JMA Roofing failed to provide and ensure that workers used fall protection to prevent severe injuries," said Marcia Drumm, OSHA's acting regional administrator in Kansas City, MO, said in a statement.

"Falls remain the leading cause of death and injury in the construction industry. Companies must protect their workers by following safety regulations."

OSHA's fall prevention campaign provides employers and workers with information and educational materials in English and Spanish about working safely on ladders, scaffolds and roofs.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Fall protection; Fatalities; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; OSHA; Roofing contractors; Waterproofing membranes; Worker training

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