Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The 5th nominee for the “Worst Employer of 2021” is … the safety ignorer

Nine days before Christmas, one of my neighbors posted the following on my community's Facebook page.

Any prayer warriors on here, please keep the roofer who just fell off one of the townhouses in your prayers. It doesn't look like he's moving. So so sad 😢.
Courtesy of OSHA, we now know exactly what happened. In addition to being completely tragic, it was also 100 percent avoidable. A local roofing company sent a 14-year-old boy up on a three-story roof with absolutely no fall protection equipment and then tried to cover it up after he fell. 
A 14-year-old boy working on the roof of a Berea townhome without required fall protection suffered critical injuries when he fell 20-feet to the ground. Immediately following this serious incident, the company's owner and three other workers put on personal fall arrest equipment to complete the roofing work in an apparent attempt to conceal the fact that fall protection was not in use at the time of the injury. The equipment had been in the employer's job trailer onsite when the boy fell.

Double M Roofing & Construction LLC owner, Melvin Schmucker, attempted to hide the company's safety failures, but footage from a nearby security camera showed the boy and three other employees working without fall protection equipment on Dec. 17, 2020.

Sixteen days later, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors observed Schmucker and four Double M employees installing roofing materials on a residential roof more than 22 feet off the ground in Hinckley – again without using necessary fall protection equipment.

Following inspections of both job sites, OSHA has proposed penalties of $73,533 to the West Farmington contractor and issued citations for two willful, three serious and one other-than-serious violations of OSHA's safety standards. The agency determined the company allowed employees to work without fall and facial protection, failed to train employees about fall hazards, and did not report the injury to OSHA, as required.
I have many questions.

1/ Why is a 14-year-old on a roof in the first place? It's a per se child labor violation.

2/ Why is anyone working on a roof without wearing any fall protection? It's a per se OSHA violation.

3/ What is anyone working on a roof without first receiving fall hazard training, another per se OSHA violation?

3/ How does one not report this to OSHA (yet another per se violation) when you know they will learn of the accident and injury via the local police or otherwise?

4/ How does one not learn from these errors and repeat the exact same mistakes two weeks later?

5/ How does one not anticipate that in 2021 someone would have captured this tragedy on camera?

6/ How scared is this employer of the potential criminal liability?

Bottom line — If you send a 14-year-old up on a roof with absolutely no fall protection whatsoever and then try to cover up your failures after he falls and suffers critical injuries, you might be the worst employer of 2021.