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OSHA Seeks $119K in Roofer Death

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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Federal regulators have proposed a $119,350 fine against a Massachusetts general contractor following an investigation into the fatal fall of a roofer.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Fairview Contractors Inc., of Lee, for seven alleged violations—two willful and five serious—of workplace safety standards in the death Nov. 14 of Francis Bona, 51, of Lee.

According to his obituary, Bona had worked as a roofer for many years and had served in the military. He is survived by his wife, Christina, and son, Michael.

Francis Bona

Francis Bona, 51, died Nov. 14, 2013, after falling 17 feet while performing roofing work on a condominium project. OSHA has proposed fines against his employer.

Attempts to reach a company representative for comment were unsuccessful. The company does not have a website.

‘Needless and Avoidable’ Death

Bona plunged to his death from about 17 feet while performing roofing work on a condominium project in Stockbridge, MA, according to OSHA.

OSHA investigators said Fairview Contractors had failed to enforce the use of fall protection by Bona and guardrails around the worksite.

“This was a needless and avoidable loss of a worker's life,” said Mary Hoye, the agency’s area director. “While guardrails and fall-arrest systems were present at this work site, they were not used and were thus useless.”

“Fatalities such as this will stop only when employers supply and ensure the use of effective and legally required fall protection safeguards on all job sites at all times.”

Willful, Serious Citations

OSHA alleged that Fairview exposed Bona and other workers to 17-foot falls while working from four tubular welded frame scaffolds and from the roof.

The scaffolds lacked guardrails, and the employees lacked fall arrest systems, OSHA said.

The agency proposed fines of $46,200 each for those hazards, considered willful.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.

fall poster

Falls are the leading cause of death in construction work, but they are also among the types of hazards that are the most easily identifiable and eliminated, according to OSHA.

The agency also imposed five serious citations, carrying a $5,390 fine each, alleging failure to:

  • Provide a training program for each employee using ladders and stairways to access scaffold platform;
  • Train employees to recognize fall hazards;
  • Provide workers with scaffolding training;
  • Provide guardrail systems for scaffold walkways or walkboards; and
  • Extend ladders used to access scaffold three feet above the upper landing surface.

A review of OSHA’s database did not show any previous violations for the contractor.

Fairview has 15 business days from the receipt of its citations to comply, meet with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Voluntary Stand-Down

Falls are the leading cause of death in construction work; yet, they are also among the types of hazards that are most easily identified and eliminated, according to OSHA.

Failing to provide fall protection for workers is one of the 10 most frequently cited OSHA violations.

To raise awareness of fall hazards and safeguards, OSHA plans a voluntary National Safety Stand-Down June 2-6 to prevent falls in construction.


Tagged categories: Citations; Contractors; Fall protection; Good Technical Practice; Hazards; Health and safety; OSHA; Regulations; Roofing contractors

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