Three federal safety inspections at an area condominium complex confirmed a Hudson Valley roofing contractor repeatedly exposed residential roof workers to potentially deadly falls from heights of 18 to 20 feet, according to federal officials.
The US Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) identified nine willful violations in its inspections of ALJ Home Improvement Inc. at Rockland County work sites in Suffern during the month of May, officials said.
The violations included employees working without required fall protection as they removed sheathing and performed other roofing work, and workers lacking protective headgear and face and eye shields to prevent injuries from flying or falling debris, plywood, nails, and other objects, the department said.
By law, residential construction employers generally must protect workers against falls with guardrails, safety nets, or personal fall arrest systems when they work 6 feet or more above lower levels, as well as provide personal protective equipment to protect against bodily injury, OSHA officials said.
ALJ Home Improvement faces $244,581 in proposed penalties following the May inspections, the labor department said.
OSHA had cited the company for fall-related hazards at three other worksites in New York and New Jersey between 2019 and 2021, including one in Kiamesha Lake where a worker died after a fall in February 2019.
“ALJ Home Improvement’s intentional and repeated failure to install required fall safeguards continues to place its employees at risk of deadly or disabling injuries,” said OSHA Area Director Robert Garvey in Tarrytown. “Fall-related fatalities are preventable if responsible employers plan ahead to do the job safely, provide their workers with proper and effective training and equipment, and make sure they use it.”
Falls are the leading cause of death in construction work in the US, accounting for 320 deaths out of 1,008 construction fatalities in 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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