Comments by: Henry Staggs, RRO
Another Roofer Goes to Prison
This is not the first blog I've written about a roofer who is going to prison for death on their job site. It's very disturbing how often this seems to be happening, this is six or seven in the past several months, I think. Whatever the number it is, it is too high. One is too high. No one should DIE at work, not of roofing. Falls are preventable, and it brakes my heart every time I hear about death from a fall off a roof.
Arizona roofers this could be you too! Being in Arizona does not in any way protect a roofing contractor from being prosecuted for death on their job site. Yet, drive down any residential street and when you find a crew roofing a house. They will not be tied off, their ladders will be set up wrong, the job site is likely to be messy and ripe with hazards. Not safe for the crew, and certainly not safe for the owners.
Stalin Rene Barahona had a crew working in Naples Florida. This guy was framing contractor, not a roofer but does that matter? The worker was drilling into the concrete while on the roof, lost his balance and fell 19 1/2 feet hitting his head on the concrete below and later died.
This man's family will never see him again, and as for Barahona, he lost his company and his freedom. Worse than that he has to live with what happened, while he sits on a prison cell. The fact that he pleads guilty means tells me he feels guilty, I can't begin to imagine how he feels really though.
“This enforcement action demonstrates that OSHA will utilize every resource available to ensure that safety and health standards are followed to protect employees from potential risk,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta, in a news release.
Do accidents happen? Sure they do, but the bottom line is that a contractor is responsible morally and by law to make sure their workers are safe. As I said, drive down any residential street and if you see a roofing crew working, I can guarantee you they won't be wearing any fall protection.
So what can I do? You ask ...
- If you are a contractor the law is pretty clear, 6 feet or more fall protection is required.
- If you are a homeowner the law is pretty clear, 6 feet or more fall protection is required.
- Contractors, stop gambling with the lives of your workers before you find your self in Mr. Barahona's place
- Homeowners insist that your contractor will keep his crew and you safe while working on your house and if they don't ... FIRE THEM!
Again, this is not the first blog I have written on this topic and we've lost many good people in Arizona for falls as well. It takes every one of us to make this happen, we are all responsible for each other.
Henry Staggs, RRO
Roof Consultant and Roofing Industry Advocate