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OSHA cites Double M Roofing & Construction after 14-year-old boy suffered critical injuries from fall

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 2/26/2021 Cameron Fields, cleveland.com

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Double M Roofing & Construction after the agency says a 14-year-old was critically injured in a fall from a roof.

OSHA cited the West Farmington contractor for six separate violations Thursday in which required fall protection was not used in two instances.

The company has been fined $73,533 in penalties for the two incidents, and it has 15 days to comply with the citation, request an informal conference with OSHA Cleveland area director Howard Eberts or contest the findings with the independent Occupational Safety Health and Review Commission. Eberts said the company has not responded yet.

The first instance involved a 14-year-old boy suffering critical injuries Dec. 17 after falling 20 feet to the ground from the roof of a Berea townhome.

The boy was employed by the company, but the Department of Labor’s child labor laws do not permit “a 14-year-old to work construction work at heights,” Eberts said. Eberts said the boy should not have been allowed to work on the roof.

“They can’t work on a ladder, they can’t work at heights,” Eberts said. “They can’t perform the hazardous work occupations that are in construction.”

After the boy fell, company owner Melvin Schmucker and three workers were seen putting on personal fall protection equipment, apparently trying to hide that fall protection wasn’t used, the Department of Labor said in a news release. A security camera showed that the boy and three other workers were not using fall protection equipment. The equipment was in the company’s trailer at the location when the boy fell.

The boy suffered significant head injuries. OSHA is not aware of the status of the boy’s current condition.

Double M Roofing & Construction could not be reached for comment.

A little over two weeks after the Berea incident, OSHA found Schmucker and four Double M Roofing & Construction employees installing roofing materials at a Hinckley home, working more than 22 feet from the ground. Fall protection was not being used, the agency said.

“All too often, OSHA inspectors responding to reports of roofers without fall protection find the employer has the safety equipment on-site and refuses to ensure its use,” Eberts said in a news release. “Exposure to fall hazards makes roofing work among the most dangerous jobs in construction. OSHA requires fall protection when working at heights greater than 6 feet.”

OSHA and construction industry stakeholders will come together May 3-7 for The National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction to bring more awareness about these dangers.

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