New England Insurance Agent Blog

Workers Comp:  Roofers in the news
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Workers Comp: Roofers in the news

You probably assume that roofers being in the news is not a good thing and in this case, you would be right.

We begin in Massachusetts, where Skyline Contracting & Roofing Corp has been fined $102,000 by OSHA for two willful and one serious violation due to the death of a worker. Kevin Miranda was in the operator’s basket of a lift boom, 45 feet in the air, when the boom fell over and he was killed on impact.

The citation included failure to train employees in recognizing unsafe conditions, failure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions (the boom was not on level ground), and last, but surely not least, failure to train employees in the proper use of the equipment.

Our second OSHA case comes from Connecticut, where Royal Construction was cited for seven workplace violations, six of them serious. Royal’s defense included the bizarre notion that the workers were all independent contractors, not employees – as if that status would mitigate Royal’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace. An inspector visited the site and determined that only two of the workers were independent contractors, the rest were employees. (It’s worth noting that in Massachusetts, all would likely have been considered employees, regardless of how they were paid.)

The actual violations included your basic checklist for roofing: failure to use fall protections, failure to provide a ladder, failure to properly extend a ladder and improperly carrying a load on a ladder. Royal was fined $20,240 for violations that put their workers at risk for serious injury and death.

The deceased worker in MA cost the employer a little over $81,000 in fines.

Roofing remains one of the most expensive class rates in the comp system, generally running upwards of 30 percent of payroll. No surprise in that.

Jon Coppelman
Senior Workers Compensation Consultant
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