Contractor faces potential jail time over fall death of roofer construction worker

Maine prosecutors are seeking criminal charges against the owner of a home improvement company under a workplace manslaughter statute established in 1989. If convicted of this Class A felony, he faces up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.

  1. The worker, who was not wearing a safety harness, fell from a 3rd story roof at a residential roofing project
  2. The owner facing charges provides an "extensive collection of safety gear" and encourages his subcontractors "every single day" to "please, please be safe, everything you need is here"
  3. He felt this was sufficient protection from personal liability, insisting that "I can’t sit there and watch these guys all day long. That’s their job. They’re self-employed"
  4. Making the proper fall arrest gear available to workers is not sufficient as the standards require the use of - not availability of - safety equipment.
    1. OSHA's Duty to Have Fall Protection standard number 1926.501 states "Each employee on a walking/working surface (horizontal and vertical surface) with an unprotected side or edge which is 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above a lower level shall be protected from falling by the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems." (emphasis added)
  5. The National Roofing Legal Resource Center advises that the person or entity in control of a job site is responsible to ensure workers on the job follow guidelines, even if they are classified as subcontractors

Devise, Implement, and Follow Through on Safety Programs

While our comprehensive selection of fall protection harnesses, lanyards, lifelines, kits and accessories will help keep your workers safe, do not underestimate the importance of fostering a culture of safety on any job site you are responsible for. Having the right equipment available doesn't do any good if it's not being used properly.

Source links:
  1. Roofing contractor pleads not guilty in worker’s death | Portland Press Herald
  2. Construction Part 1926 - Safety and Health Regulations for Construction standard number 1926.501 Duty to Have Fall Protection | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  3. Image by Mario Ohibsky from Pixabay