This past year will go down in history due to the impact it had on industries of all kinds, including the roofing sector. However, it could’ve gone a lot worse — you could’ve been one of these 10 roofing contractors who received steep fines.

Although 2020 was an unprecedented year, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) continued to inspect and fine roofing contractors for various violations, many of which were related to fall prevention. To generate this list, RC examined the penalties OSHA reported in 2020 as well as any other consequences related to the incidents.

10. Action Roofing Services Inc. – Florida

OSHA inspected a Boca Raton, Fla. jobsite where Action Roofing Services was working and found the contractor had exposed employees to fall hazards. The agency issued $51,952 in penalties. It was the third such citation that OSHA has issued the contractor in the last three years, having cited the company on July 30, 2018, Jan. 3, 2019, and March 11, 2020.

9. Crown Roofing – Florida

Sarasota, Fla.-based Crown Roofing faced penalties of $134,937 after OSHA cited it for exposing employees to fall hazards. OSHA stated it initiated the inspection in November 2019 as part of the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program for Falls in Construction after inspectors observed employees working on roofs without fall protection.

The agency has inspected the company 18 times in the past six years, with 12 of the inspections resulting in repeat violations of the fall protection standard.

8. Jerry Turnbaugh – Ohio

OSHA cited Jerry Turnbaugh, a roofing contractor based in Dublin, Ohio, for exposing employees to falls at three separate residential home sites. Turnbaugh received a fine of $148,430 after OSHA held three inspections on May 7, June 3 and June 22, observing workers not using appropriate fall protection equipment.

7. CJM Roofing Inc. – Florida

CJM Roofing in West Palm, Fla. received penalties totaling $199,711 after inspectors observed employees working on roofs without fall protection in both November 2019 and March 2020. The fines also included violations in ladder usage. The agency has inspected the company eight times in the past five years, resulting in repeat violations of the fall protection standard.

6. Alejandro Vazquez Gallegos – Ohio

In April, OSHA announced it cited Alejandro Vazquez Gallegos, a roofing contractor in Columbus, Ohio, for exposing employees to falls at two jobsites. The contractor received penalties of $236,642 for two willful, two repeat and four serious safety violations.

“Falls are consistently one of OSHA’s most cited hazards, but can be prevented with proper training and appropriate protection,” said OSHA Columbus Area Director Larry Johnson.

5. CJM Roofing Inc. – Florida

CJM Roofing appears once again on the 2020 list, this time with penalties totaling $291,724 for exposing employees to fall and other hazards at three residential worksites in Royal Palm Beach and Port St. Lucie, Fla. OSHA initiated inspections in June, August and September of 2019 and observed employees working on roofs without fall protection.

4. Webb Contractor Corp. – Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, OSHA initiated an inspection on Sept. 6, 2019 after a compliance officer observed employees of Webb Contractor Corp. performing residential roofing work approximately 20 feet above grade without fall protection. OSHA later responded to complaints of fall hazards and initiated two additional inspections on Oct. 1, 2019 and Oct. 11, 2019.

As a result, the contractor, based in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., received $605,371 in penalties.

3. Florida Roofing Experts Inc. – Florida

OSHA has investigated Florida Roofing Experts and its predecessor, Great White Construction, 19 times within the last seven years, resulting in 42 citations related to improper fall protection, ladder use, and eye protection. This was the case yet again during inspections held July 11 and 12, 2019, where employees were seen performing residential reroofing without fall protection.

OSHA slammed the contractor with penalties totaling $1,007,717.

“This employer has an extensive OSHA history with willful, serious, and repeat violations that has demonstrated an egregious disregard for the safety of their workers,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer, in Atlanta, Ga. “The employer continues to allow employees to work without fall protection, and has made no reasonable effort to eliminate the risk.”

2. Julio Perez – Alabama

While these last two entries may not have as large of penalties as those seen on the list, the citations were the result of the worst possible outcome: workers dying due to falls.

In June, OSHA cited roofing contractor Elmer Julio Perez — operating as Julio Perez — for failing to protect employees from fall hazards after a worker fatally fell from a residential roof at a Mobile, Ala. worksite. OSHA states on Dec. 4, 2019, a worker suffered a fall from 8 feet when Perez didn’t ensure fall protection. That same day, Perez didn’t report the work-related hospitalization of the worker, and on Dec. 11, 2019, failed to report the fatality.

“Allowing employees to work at heights without using proper fall protection methods increases the risk of serious or fatal injuries,” said OSHA Mobile Area Director Jose Gonzalez. “Employers have an obligation to ensure the working conditions are free of hazards.”

1. Apex Roofing and Restoration LLC – Alabama

Apex Roofing and Restoration LLC in Alabama received $159,118 in penalties in early 2020 related to a 15-year-old worker falling to his death at a worksite in July 2019.

On July 1, 2019, the teenager was on his first day on the job at a worksite in Cullman, Ala., when he fell 40 feet through an unsupported section of the roof of a factory. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The victim was described by police as a teenage boy from Guatemala living in Alabama.

“Employers have a legal duty to ensure that their employees are protected at all times,” said OSHA Area Director Ramona Morris in Birmingham, Ala. “This responsibility includes providing appropriate training and conducting assessments to make sure workers understand hazards, and supplying fall protection to minimize the risk of serious or fatal injuries.”

COVID-19 Fines

Falls continued to be the most cited violation for roofing contractors, but some states pursued general duty clause violations due to COVID-19. The Michigan OSHA issued citations with fines up to $7,000 to multiple businesses, including roofing companies, for failing to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines and best practices.

With the Biden administration set to take office in 2021, roofing contractors may face additional regulations and inspections, especially in regards to COVID-19.

“We’ve had a favorable administration as far as rulemaking goes, especially in the past couple of years,” said Trent Cotney, CEO of Cotney Construction Law. “OSHA has taken a lot of heat for not coming out proactively on COVID-19 and kicking it to the CDC to a certain extent. You can expect a lot of that to change.”