CT Roofer Fails to Equip and Train Workers to Protect from Falls, Even after one Dies


Bridgeport, CT (WorkersCompensation.com) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Bridgeport roofing contractor JC Silva Remodeling Services LLC for fall hazards at three Fairfield County work sites, including one where a worker died Feb. 14 when he fell from the roof while installing and removing skylights.

"This death was needless," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "Especially disturbing is the employer's recurring failure to adequately protect its workers against the number one killer in construction work, even after a fall claimed the life of one of its employees."

The investigation by OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office of the site where the fatality occurred, located at 344 Jenn Court in Shelton, found that neither fall protection, such as guardrails or lifelines, was provided for the workers, nor were they trained to recognize fall hazards. These conditions exposed them to falls of 30-40 feet from the roof. An additional fall hazard stemmed from the use of a damaged ladder to access the roof.

At the second site, located at 149 Westport Ave. in Norwalk, inspectors found that workers were exposed to falls of up to 20 feet from the roof and a scaffold due to a lack of fall protection. Additional fall hazards stemmed from using a damaged ladder to support the scaffolding, using a ladder that did not extend at least 3 feet above the roof's edge to ensure stability and failing to inspect the scaffold for defects.

At the third site, located at 301-302 Sunwood Drive in Shelton, inspectors found that an employee installing shingles on the roof 18 feet above the ground lacked adequate fall protection. In this case, the employee was wearing a safety harness and lifeline, but the lifeline was inadequately anchored to the roof, and at 25 feet, it was too long to prevent the employee from striking the ground if he were to fall.

As a result of these hazards, OSHA has cited JC Silva Remodeling for two alleged willful and nine alleged serious violations of workplace safety standards. 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. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

"OSHA is urging Connecticut contractors to review their fall prevention safeguards, plan their jobs properly, ensure that their employees have the necessary protective equipment, and train their workers to recognize and prevent fall hazards," said Kowalski. "To assist in this effort, OSHA has launched a national public awareness campaign to remind employers and workers of fall hazards and the steps they can take to protect themselves against this deadliest of construction industry dangers."

In April, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced a campaign to provide employers and workers with lifesaving information and educational materials about working safely from ladders, scaffolds and roofs in an effort to prevent deadly falls in the construction industry. In 2010, more than 10,000 construction workers were injured as a result of falling while working from heights and more than 250 workers were killed. OSHA's fall prevention campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. More information on fall protection standards is available in English and Spanish at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls.

OSHA has placed JC Silva Remodeling Services LLC in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. The program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. For more information on the program, visit http://s.dol.gov/J3.

The company, which faces a total of $77,400 in fines, has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Bridgeport office at 203-579-5581.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.

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