Nebraska Roofing Company Cited in Worker’s Fatal Fall

November 6, 2013

Federal safety authorities cited a roofing company and proposed $70,000 in penalties for a worker’s fatal fall from one Omaha roof to another, the agency said Monday.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration said JMA Roofing committed one repeat violation and one other-than-serious safety violation. OSHA said the worker was replacing a rooftop rubber membrane on July 17 when he fell to the top of an adjacent building. Police estimated the man fell about 30 feet and said he wasn’t wearing a safety harness.

“It’s unacceptable that JMA Roofing failed to provide and ensure that workers used fall protection to prevent severe injuries,” said Marcia Drumm, OSHA’s acting regional administrator in Kansas City, Mo. “Falls remain the leading cause of death and injury in the construction industry. Companies must protect their workers by following safety regulations.”

Ghaleb Suleiman, who operates JMA Roofing, said Monday that the man fell after he and a buddy went on the roof after their workday was over. His company had all the necessary safety equipment on the roof, Suleiman said, and added that he had gone home for the day and didn’t know the two were on the roof. He said he thinks the pair had been drinking or doing drugs.

OSHA said one repeat violation was issued because the company didn’t protect workers from falls while performing work on a low-slope roof more than 6 feet above the ground. JMA had a similar violation in 2010, the agency said.

The other violation, which was listed as less than serious, said JMA didn’t certify that workers had been trained in fall protection standards and requirements.

Suleiman said he will fight OSHA’s findings and penalties. Under OSHA rules, JMA has 15 business days request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

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