Roofing company ignored safety concerns, worker died: Feds

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A construction hat is visible in this file photo. A roof worker lost his balance and died 30 feet through a skylight. A Baton Rouge contracting company is now facing nearly $250,000 in penalties from the Department of Labor.

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A Louisiana roofing company is accused of failing to heed inspectors’ warnings about falling hazards before a 22-year-old employee fell dead in April.

He now faces hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration said it launched an inspection of Premier South Roofing — which employs about 200 workers in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, North Shore and other areas of Louisiana — in February after observing five employees working without “adequate fall protection”.

About two months later, a 22-year-old roofer at another job site lost his balance, stepped on a skylight and fell 30 feet, officials said. The employee later died of his injuries in hospital.

The Department of Labor says the fatal incident could have been avoided had the company heeded earlier warnings about required fall protection standards.

Premier South Roofing declined to comment when contacted by McClatchy News.

“Falls continue to be the leading cause of death in the construction industry and yet employers like Premier South Roofing LLC have repeatedly failed to protect their workers from the risk of disabling injury or worse,” said Roderic Chube, regional director of OSHA in Baton Rouge. the press release. “Ensuring workers are trained and use proper fall protection, as required by law, can prevent such tragedies from happening again.”

After another inspection in April, OSHA said it cited two repeat violations for failing to provide fall protection and verify employee training. The company now faces nearly $250,000 in penalties and has until August 12 to respond.

In 2020, there were 351 deaths from falls on the job site, according to OSHA, which stresses that “these deaths are preventable”.

This story was originally published August 2, 2022 3 p.m.

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