APPLETON, Wis. — An Appleton, Wis. roofing contractor allowed three roofers to work at heights up to 18 feet without anchoring their fall protection, rendering it unable to prevent serious or fatal injuries, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

In a release, OSHA stated an inspector observed unsafe conditions on May 11 as workers removed materials from a residential roof in Sheboygan, Wis. As a result, OSHA cited their employer, Lucio Perez Lopez — operating as Lopez Roofing — for exposing workers to falls and for failing to train them on how to use fall protection effectively. 

The agency issued one repeat and one serious violation, and proposed penalties of $94,263. OSHA cited Lopez Roofing for similar violations twice between 2014 and 2017, making this the fifth time the agency has discovered the company flouting the law.

“If a fall arrest system is not worn and anchored properly, there is nothing to stop a worker from possibly becoming a statistic, as falls from elevations remain one of the leading causes of death in the construction industry,” said OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton, Wis. “Assigning workers to perform dangerous tasks without training them on how to protect themselves is inexcusable. OSHA will hold employers accountable when they fail to meet their legal requirements to provide safe working conditions.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 1,008 construction workers died on the job in 2020, with 351 of those fatalities related to falls from elevation.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

View the citation here.