Video shows 14-year-old boy’s terrifying fall off roof while doing construction; contractor cited

Brittany Rall, Matt Wright, WJW and Nexstar Media Wire

BEREA, Ohio (WJW) — Police released video of a 14-year-old boy falling off a roof while doing construction on a townhome in Ohio.

The Berea Police Department said the boy was critically injured in the accident, which happened in December. Now, the company he was working for is in trouble with OSHA.

“Immediately following this serious incident, the company’s owner and three other workers put on personal fall arrest equipment to complete the roofing work in an apparent attempt to conceal the fact that fall protection was not in use at the time of the injury. The equipment had been in the employer’s job trailer onsite when the boy fell,” according to the Department of Labor.

Inspectors said they discovered the truth while reviewing video from a neighbor’s security camera.

“A guy on a roofing crew just fell off of a roof,” a caller told 911 operators at the time of the incident. “He’s unconscious. He’s unresponsive in the driveway.”

OSHA has proposed penalties of $73,533 to Double M Roofing and Construction and issued citations for two willful, three serious and one other-than-serious violations of OSHA’s safety standards.

Inspectors said after the accident, employees were caught again installing roofing materials at another job site without the necessary fall protection equipment.

“All too often, OSHA inspectors responding to reports of roofers without fall protection find the employer has the safety equipment on-site and refuses to ensure its use,” explained OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts in Cleveland. “Exposure to fall hazards makes roofing work among the most dangerous jobs in construction. OSHA requires fall protection when working at heights greater than 6 feet.”

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.

Owner Melvin Schmucker declined to comment when contacted by WJW.

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