A 15-year-old boy working on a roofing crew fell to his death while on a jobsite last week in Alabama.
The boy, originally from Guatemala, was on his first day on the job when he fell through an unsupported section of the roof of a factory in Cullman on July 1, Fox News reported.
He fell roughly 40 feet and was pronounced dead at the scene of the Cullman Casting factory.
Safety equipment was installed on the roof but was not being used by workers, police said. The boy’s brother was also working on the roof at the time. The initial investigation showed they were working for W&W Restoration, which was subcontracted by Apex Roofing.
An attorney for Apex told Birmingham's WIAT that
the boy’s age alone violated company policy and state law.
“The state of Alabama has regulations in relation to the employment of juveniles, however, Apex’s policy is to not hire anyone under the age of 19," said Edward Merrell. "Apex also requires their subcontractors to comply with all state regulations and we learn a subcontractor does not follow state and federal regulations, Apex does not continue doing work with those subcontractors.”
The Cullman Times reported that neither Apex nor W&W Restoration had prior labor law violations with the Alabama Department of Labor.
That could become significant as authorities continue their investigation into the incident, and determine whether any criminal charges are warranted.
"At this time what we're looking at now could be a misdemeanor charge involving the foreman or someone with the contracting company," Cullman Police Lt. Todd Chiaranda told the Times. "If the investigation shows that there was a past offense or offenses under the labor law, then it could be become a felony charge."
The boy is the second member of a roofing crew to fall to his death that RC reported in as many weeks.
A 55-year-old roofing contractor fell off the roof of a ongoing project atop a residence hall at the University of Richmond in Virginia.
Falls continue to be the leading source of fatal and serious-injury work-site incidents in the construction trade. In 2017 alone, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported falls accounted for 366 of 971 construction fatalities, roughly 38 percent.