Occupational Safety & Health Administration

OSHA Cites Contractor After Worker Paralyzed in Fall from Roof

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Ryan Roofing Inc. in Salina, Kan., with three willful safety violations after a worker suffered a broken neck and was paralyzed when he fell 20 feet from the roof of a commercial building the company was replacing in Hoisington on October 3, 2012.

Video: Falls in Construction/Reroofing

The three willful violations include failing to ensure the integrity of a roof structure employers were working on, to provide and use fall protection systems on a low-sloped roof and to provide training on fall protection to workers. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Due to the nature of the hazards and the violations cited, Ryan Roofing has been placed in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law. OSHA's SVEP focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations at related work sites of the employer.

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Proposed penalties for this investigation total $115,500. The current citations can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/ooc/citations/RyansRoofing_682238_0401_13.pdf.

OSHA has created a Stop Falls Web page with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures. OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection, such as guardrails, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems, be in use when workers perform construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level.

Ryan Roofing Inc. 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. This was OSHA's third inspection of the company, which has previously been cited for lack of fall protection and training.