A roofing contractor in Lake Mary, Fla., has been hit with multiple citations and fines following the severe injury of a 15-year-old worker on a job site near Orlando.

According to the Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspected a JGN Services LLC worksite after a 15-year-old minor fell approximately 20 feet from the roof of a two-story home. The agency determined the contractor’s failure to ensure the use of federally required fall protection led the teenager to suffer severe head and spinal injuries, and spend six days in a hospital to begin recovering.

In addition to finding that JGN Services failed to install a guardrail, safety net or personal fall arrest system for employees doing roofing work, OSHA determined JGN Services allowed the improper use of ladders and did not train workers to recognize fall hazards. OSHA issued the employer citations for three serious violations with $8,702 in penalties in July 2022.

“Falls in construction continues to be a leading cause, and maybe one of the most preventable, for severe injury and death in the workplace,” said OSHA Area Office Director Sarah Carle in Orlando, Fla. “Employers must take every precaution – such as using fall protection and training workers to recognize hazards – to make sure their employees end their shifts safely.”

After learning the injured worker’s age, OSHA referred its finding to the department’s Wage and Hour Division, which enforces federal child labor regulations.

According to the Wage and Hour Division, JGN violated three 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, engage in any work that requires the use of ladders or scaffolds and use any power-driven woodworking machines. The division also found additional child labor violations, including allowing the 15-year-old to work more than three hours on school days and more than 18 hours during school weeks, and failing to keep on record the minor’s date of birth.

The division slapped JGN Services with a $55,841 civil penalty under the Child Labor Enhanced Penalty Program.

During its review, the division also determined the employer had misclassified some workers as independent contractors and did not pay employees overtime rates for hours over 40 hours in a workweek. JGN Services also failed to pay other employees for all hours worked, resulting in minimum wage and overtime FLSA violations. As a result, the division recovered $106,600 in back wages and liquidated damages for 18 workers to resolve these violations.

“This is a case where an employer’s very poor decision caused a 15-year-old boy great harm, and denied many workers all of their hard-earned wages,” said Wage and Hour Division District Director Wildalí De Jesús in Orlando. “With more than $50,000 in child labor penalties, and payment of more than $100,000 in back wages, JGN Services has seen how costly the consequences for failing to respect its employees’ rights to a safe workplace and to be paid their legal wages can be.”

The injured minor is one of 688 the division found employed in hazardous occupations during investigations in fiscal year 2022, the highest annual count since fiscal year 2011.