Fall protection remains the most frequently cited workplace safety standard for the 11th year in a row, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and led to hefty fines and tragic deaths in the roofing industry.

RC examined the citations OSHA reported in 2021 to determine which contractors faced the toughest penalties this year. While the dollar amounts toward the top of the list may not be as large as others below them, they involve injuries or the deaths of workers, emphasizing the need for safety on the job.

10. JMH Roofing LLC – Ohio

On April 28, 2021, OSHA inspectors observed roofers employed by JMH Roofing LLC working up to 24 feet off the ground without protection. The agency issued two willful, two repeat and two serious violations. OSHA cited the company and owner, Jonas Hershberger, and proposed penalties of $136,453.

OSHA also found the five-person crew working without required eye, face or head protection. This was the sixth time in three years OSHA cited the contractor for deadly fall hazards.

9. Premier Roofing – Colorado

A federal administrative judge upheld citations and penalties against Premier Roofing LLC after it exposed workers and its subcontractor, M&M General Construction LLC, to fall hazards. Premier Roofing LLC contested its citations, but on Aug. 6, the judge affirmed Premier Roofing’s serious citation for failing to conduct safety inspections and its repeat citation for lack of fall protection. The court also ordered the company to pay $145,858 in penalties that OSHA levied.

8. Marc Jones Construction, Sunpro Solar – Louisiana

Marc Jones Construction, operating as Sunpro Solar, had $160,913 in proposed penalties issued by OSHA for a repeat violation after inspectors found workers exposed to falls. In addition, the agency cited the company for allowing workers to climb up and down extension ladders while carrying loads that could have caused them to fall, and failing to provide fall protection training to employees.

7. ALJ Home Improvement Inc. – New York

ALJ Home Improvement Inc. received a proposed $244,581 in penalties after three federal safety inspections at a condominium complex confirmed it repeatedly exposed residential roof workers to potentially deadly falls from heights of 18 to 20 feet. OSHA identified nine willful violations in its inspections held May 11, 12, and 13.

6. Grand Valley Carpentry LLC – Ohio

OSHA cited Neal Weaver and an employee of Grand Valley Carpentry for working without fall protection on a residential roof nearly 20 feet off the ground. Weaver, who has not cooperated with federal safety inspectors under a previous company, Dutch Heritage LLC, exposed workers to fall hazards for the sixth time in five years. OSHA issued two willful violations and proposed $253,556 in penalties. Inspectors also found the crew working without required eye protection.

5. Janiec Roofing Inc. – New Jersey

According to OSHA, Janiec Roofing previously agreed to make improvements related to fall protection and other safety issues. However, it violated its settlement agreement with the Department of Labor in 2021 by exposing workers to dangerous safety hazards and was issued $600,741 in penalties. Janiec Roofing entered the agreement with OSHA after two 2019 inspections identified infractions related to fall protection and other safety issues.

4. Lifetime Contractor Corp. – New Jersey

Unfortunately, the last four entries on the list involve injuries and deaths related to falls. Lifetime Contractor Corp. reportedly failed to comply with fall safety requirements that led to one of its employees suffering serious injuries when the roof beneath him collapsed. OSHA cited Osman “Alex” Inestrosa — who operates under the name Lifetime Contractor Corp. — and proposed penalties totaling $201,090 after two OSHA investigations in the fall of 2020.

3. Double M Roofing & Construction – Ohio

OSHA cited Double M Roofing & Construction for two willful, three serious and one other-than-serious violations. The citations resulted from investigations that revealed a 14-year-old boy working on a roof in December 2020 fell and suffered serious injuries. Sixteen days later, OSHA inspectors observed Owner Melvin Schmucker and four Double M employees installing roofing materials on a residential roof more than 22 feet off the ground, again without using fall protection equipment.

Following the inspections, OSHA proposed penalties of $73,533.

2. Stover & Sons Contractors Inc. – Tennessee

In Tennessee, Stover & Sons Contractors Inc. faced more than $122,000 in violations after a 16-year-old boy in their employ doing roof construction fell to his death in June 2020. The Department of Labor reports the teen climbed over a barrier at a hotel roof line and attempted to jump onto a power-driven hoisting device next to the building. The teen missed, slipped through a gap between the scaffolding and the building and fell about 160 feet to his death. 

Additionally, the contractor violated two hazardous occupation orders of the child labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The orders ban employers from allowing minors under age 18 to perform roofing activities or to operate or ride on a power-driven hoisting apparatus. Stover & Sons Contractors also violated child labor laws by allowing the teen to work more than eight hours a day and more than 40 hours per week when he was 15 years of age.

The contractor received a $122,364 civil penalty under the Child Labor Enhanced Penalty Program.

1. Top Choice Roofing Service – Pennsylvania; Mast’s Top Choice Roofing Service – Ohio

Two roofing contractors — Top Choice Roofing Service in Hadley, Pa., and Mast’s Top Choice Roofing Service in Jefferson, Ohio — face a combined total of $353,868 in proposed penalties following the death of a 19-year-old worker in June.

OSHA investigated the death of the teenage roofing worker who fell 30 feet through an unprotected skylight in Neville Island, Pa. OSHA found the two commercial contractors willfully failed to use fall protection systems that might have saved his life. Both companies now qualify for inclusion in OSHA’s Severe Violator Program because the willful citation is related directly to a fatality. Each roofing contractor was issued $167,934 in penalties.