A Tennessee-based roofing contractor has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after a 59-year-old worker died following a fatal fall at the Peter Prince Field Airport in Florida.

According to a release from OSHA, the 59-year-old roofer was working atop a hangar on Oct. 25, 2022 when he "stepped onto a skylight and its sudden collapse" led to a 25-foot fall to the concrete floor below. The injured roofer died four days later. 

OSHA opened an inspection at the Peter Prince Field Airport and determined that Porter Roofing Contractors Inc. failed to ensure the 13-member crew working on the roof that day used fall protection as required by federal law. The skylight was being prepped for removal as part of the project.

Additionally, OSHA found the company failed to regularly inspect job sites, materials and equipment, which exposed workers to electrical, struck-by, and fall hazards, and failed to report a work-related employee hospitalization to OSHA within 24 hours.

The agency issued a citation to Porter Roofing Contractors for four serious violations with $53,797 in proposed penalties.

“Porter Roofing Contractors made a fateful decision to overlook federal fall protection standards and it cost a worker their life,” said OSHA Area Director Jose Gonzalez in Mobile, Ala. “Falls are a leading cause of serious injuries and death in the construction industry. There simply is no excuse for a company not to make sure every worker is equipped and trained properly.”

In 2021, the number of work-related fatalities in Florida totaled 315, an increase from the previous year. Falls, slips, and trips was the second-most frequent fatal work event with 69 fatalities. 

Increases in work-related fatalities aren't limited to Florida. The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that workplace fatalities are on the rise nationwide and work related fatalities due to falls, slips, and trips increased about 5% in 2021, from 805 fatalities in 2020 to 850 in 2021. Falls, slips, and trips in construction and extraction occupations accounted for 370 of these fatalities in 2021, and an increase of 7.2% from 2020.

This isn't the first time Porter Roofing faced penalties related to fall protection. According to OSHA, the employer was also inspected by South Carolina OSHA in May 2019 and was issued a citation for failing to utilize fall protection, which became a final order Sept. 23, 2019.

Based in Morrison, Tenn., Porter Roofing Contractors Inc. also has two other Tennessee locations in Murfreesboro and Chattanooga, as well as in Milton, Fla., and Martinez, Ga. It employs 175 workers.

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.