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Judge affirms citation in roofing worker fall, reduces fine

An administrative law judge with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission on Thursday affirmed a serious violation stemming from an incident where a roofer fell from a roof and was injured, yet reduced the fine by half.

Fairport, New York-based Ontario Exteriors Inc. was hired to replace the shingle roof of a two-story residence in Victor, New York, when a worksite policy that directed its employees to traverse a steep second-story roof without fall protection at the beginning and end of each work day resulted in the injury of one worker in May 2017, according to documents in Secretary of Labor v. Ontario Exteriors Inc..

Following an investigation, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration in June 2017 issued a citation and notification of penalty for one serious violation of OSHA's fall protection standard, with a proposed penalty of $3,622, documents state.

At a hearing later that year, “the parties agreed that employees had not used fall protection when they traversed the roof between eave and peak at the beginning and end of each workday,” yet “Ontario asserts that its employees were not required to use fall protection while moving between the roof’s eave and peak at the beginning and end of each workday. The Secretary asserts employees were required to use fall protection on the roof at all times.”

The administrative law judge affirmed the citation that the company failed to use fall protection per OSHA requirements but reduced the fine to $1,811, noting in the ruling that “the Court believes Ontario will no longer allow its employees to traverse between the eave and the peak without adequate all protection at the beginning and end of each workday and will purchase any necessary equipment for compliance.”

Officials with Ontario could not immediately be reached for comment.

The decision became a final order of the review commission on Thursday.