Dorchester, Massachusetts-based contractor Roof Kings LLC exposed employees to life-threatening falls - more than 45 feet off the ground - over a three-day period as they worked at a Haverhill church, federal workplace safety and health inspectors found.

In response to a complaint, OSHA’s Andover Area Office began its inspection on Feb. 17, 2016. Inspectors found Roof Kings’ employees working without fall protection atop the steep-pitched roof at 232 Main St. Workers also lacked fall protection as they worked on a lower, sloped roof and on ladders that did not extend at least three feet above landings for required stability.

On return visit: same dangers

OSHA officials brought the violations - and the need to correct them - to the attention of the company’s site supervisor. On Feb. 18 and 19, they returned to continue the inspection and found the fall hazards ignored and Roof Kings workers still at risk of deadly or disabling falls.

“Employees should never have to risk their lives for a paycheck. Roof Kings has no excuse for knowingly and repeatedly failing to provide and ensure required fall protection safeguards,” said Anthony Covello, OSHA’s area director for Essex and Middlesex counties.

OSHA found Roof King employees exposed to additional fall hazards stemming from:

  • Using a materials hoist improperly as a ladder.
  • Inadequate fall protection training.
  • An unsecured fall protection anchor.
  • A fall protection lanyard that would allow an employee to fall more than 6 feet.
  • An improperly angled extension ladder.
  • Ascent and descent on a ladder while carrying an object that could cause a worker to lose balance.
  • Lack of training on how to use ladders safely.

“Preventable falls account for nearly 40 percent of all deaths in the construction industry, yet this hazard can be readily eliminated with the proper planning, training and equipment,” said Covello. “Roof Kings must take ongoing corrective action to effectively prevent fall hazards before one of its employees is needlessly killed or injured.”

Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry.

Other violations

The agency also identified the following hazards which put Roof Kings’ employees at risk of:

  • Eye and face injuries while using pneumatic nail guns without proper eye protection.
  • Being struck by roofing materials dropped more than 20 feet from the building.
  • Electric shock and burns from ungrounded power tools, an ungrounded electrical outlet and frayed and misused power cords.
  • Exposure to lead contaminants and inadequate training about lead hazards.

As a result of its findings, OSHA has cited Roof Kings for three willful, one repeat and nine serious violations of workplace safety standards. Proposed fines for these violations total $124,960. The citations can be viewed here.

Established in 2011, Roof Kings LLC is located at 512 Gallivan Boulevard, Dorchester.

OSHA offers a Stop Falls online resource with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page provides fact sheets, posters and videos that illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures. OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection be in use when workers perform construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level.