A New York roofing company has ceased contesting egregious willful and other citations amidst its other legal troubles that have stemmed from a 2022 incident that resulted in the death of a worker.

According to a news release, the Department of Labor employed “vigorous litigation” against ALJ Home Improvement, convincing the contractor to file a notice of withdrawal with the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission on March 1.

The Spring Valley-based company's action came one week before a scheduled trial litigated by the department's Office of the Solicitor in New York. In doing so, the company accepts eight citations and the $687,536 penalty attached to them.

The action follows an August 2022 OSHA inspection at a Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J. residential construction site where a compliance officer reported they observed multiple ALJ Home Improvement employees working on a steep-slope roof without fall protection.

OSHA found violations related to fall protection deficiencies, unsafe ladder use, additional ladder-related hazards and lack of head protection at the Bergen County location.

The Department of Labor said the inspection came less than six months after an ALJ employee suffered a fatal workplace fall in Spring Valley in February 2022. The incident led company founder and principal Jose Lema to plead guilty in February 2024 to criminal charges filed by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York in July 2023.

Lema, 41, of Nanuet, N.Y., is charged with one count of willful violation of OSHA regulations resulting in death, which carries a maximum sentence of six months in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000. Sentencing has been scheduled for May 22.

"Our strong litigation strategy ended ALJ Home Improvement's attempt to contest OSHA's findings and allowed the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to affirm the company's per-instance willful citations and a substantial penalty," said Regional Solicitor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York. "The department's Office of the Solicitor takes seriously its responsibility of holding employers like ALJ Home Improvement accountable for repeatedly disregarding vital safety requirements."

In August 2023, the roofing company was issued $1.3 million in penalties after OSHA investigated the fatal fall that occurred in February 2022. This was not the first instance of a fatal fall — in February 2019, a company employee died in a fall at a Kiamesha Lake work site.

ALJ Home Improvement has a history of safety violations. Since 2019, OSHA has inspected the company 10 times and cited multiple fall-related violations.