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Roofer Cited in Worker’s Broken Neck

Thursday, March 21, 2013

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A New Jersey roofing contractor with a history of federal safety violations is now facing $57,300 in new fines stemming from a 20-foot fall that left a worker with a broken neck.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Conte Roofing Co. Inc., of Ridgefield, NJ, with two repeat and four serious violations in the accident at a work site in Moonachie, NJ.

The employee was working without fall protection when he fell through an unprotected hole in the roof of a commercial building in October, according to the OSHA citations.

Conte did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday (March 20).

Serious, Repeat Violations

The repeat violations involve two ladder hazards cited on another Conte project in 2011. The two ladder issues were among four serious fall-related violations for which the company paid $12,000 in fines.

OSHA fall protection

OSHA's fall prevention campaign offers resources on standards and assistance.

In the current case, Conte was cited for not having a ladder extended three feet above the landing surface and for lack of ladder training.

A repeat violation is issued when an employer has been cited for the same or similar violation within five years.

Four serious violations allege failure to:

  • Provide fall protection and training for workers performing roof work;
  • Ensure an available fire extinguisher; and
  • Protect holes in the roof.

Serious citations reflect hazards that may cause death or serious injury.

BBB Complaints

The Better Business Bureau notes four complaints against Conte Roofing since Oct. 1, 2010. Two of the complaints were lodged in 2013.

In three cases, the Bureau said it was unable to locate the business to process the complaint; in the fourth, the Bureau said it received no response from the business about the complaint.

Fatal Falls

Slips, trips, and falls constitute the majority of general industry accidents, causing 15 percent of all accidental deaths, according to OSHA. Falls are also the leading cause of death in construction, and ladder hazards are a leading source of OSHA citations.

In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 751 construction workers died on the job, with 35 percent of those fatalities resulting from falls.

Conte Roofing "failed to provide a safe and healthful workplace by not utilizing appropriate safety measures, including fall protection, which resulted in a worker's serious injury," said Lisa Levy, director of OSHA's area office in Hasbrouck Heights.

OSHA will not tolerate companies that do not prioritize the safety and health of workers."


Tagged categories: Accidents; Commercial contractors; Fall protection; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; OSHA; Roofing contractors

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