A New York roofing contractor cited for multiple fall-related violations has been ordered by an injunction to provide employees with fall protection equipment and make sure it’s used at all company worksites.
According to a news release, the Department of Labor obtained a consent injunction ordering Rockland County roofing contractor ALJ Home Improvement Inc. and its principal to provide employees with fall protection equipment. The order finds that, by allowing employees to do roofing work without fall protection, the company is exposing them to imminent danger of death or serious harm.
Since 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited ALJ Home Improvement Inc. multiple times for fall-related violations, including after company employees suffered fatal falls in 2019 and 2022. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, from 2019 into 2023, OSHA performed eight investigations of ALJ worksites, issuing 24 willful citations, 16 serious citations and socking the concern with more than $2.3 million in penalties.
In May 2023, ALJ and its owner, Jose Lema, signed a settlement agreement with OSHA to resolve and affirm willful citations the agency issued in 2021, which includes enhanced provisions for correcting and preventing fall hazards.
“Falls remain the number one cause of death in construction work, accounting for 351 out of 1,008 construction fatalities in 2020. Reducing that deadly statistic is made more difficult by stubborn employers who knowingly and repeatedly fail to comply with common sense and legally required safeguards,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson in New York.
Entered in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the injunction requires ALJ and Lema to comply with the enhanced abatement provisions of the settlement agreement, including notifying OSHA of future company jobsites, providing all supervisors with OSHA 30-hour safety training and all employees with OSHA 10-hour safety training, and retaining a qualified safety consultant to develop safety, health and disciplinary programs and conduct worksite inspections.
If ALJ or Lema fail to comply with the agreement, the department may file a contempt motion in federal court.
“These settlement terms provide extra assurance of compliance, enforceable via contempt in district court, given this employer’s history, and underscore the Department of Labor’s commitment to pursuing effective and appropriate legal actions to help ensure that employers correct violations and take substantive steps to prevent them from recurring,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York.
In a separate legal action, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed criminal charges against owner Jose Lema in July 2023 arising from the 2022 worker fatality.
Read the consent order and injunction.