A roofing company that employed a 15-year-old Guatemalan boy was hit with $159,118 in penalties by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) following an investigation last July after a 15-year-old worker suffered fatal injuries after falling 40 feet at a job site in Cullman, Alabama.

The Guatemalan boy, who lived in Vestavia Hills near Birmingham, was on his first day of work for WW Restoration LLC, a subcontractor for Apex Roofing and Restoration LLC. He was helping remove the roof of the Cullman Casting building when he fell. Several witnesses on the scene confirmed that none of the workers were wearing safety harnesses.

OSHA’s investigation determined that the companies were exposing employees to fall hazards while they were performing roofing activities without adequate fall protection. They also found the companies did not provide proper training to the workers. And while the companies are listed as two separate entities, OSHA cited them as a single employer because they shared supervision on a common worksite and have interrelated operations and integrated working relationships, OSHA said in a news release.

“Employers have a legal duty to ensure that their employees are protected at all times,” said OSHA Area Director Ramona Morris in Birmingham, Alabama. “This responsibility includes providing appropriate training and conducting assessments to make sure workers understand hazards, and supplying fall protection to minimize the risk of serious or fatal injuries.”

OSHA’s Wage and Hour Division is also investigating the companies for child labor provision violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

If you need more information about on-the-job injury, contact Kendall Dunson or Evan Allen, lawyers in our Personal Injury & Products Liability Section who handle workplace litigation for our firm. They often investigate cases similar to the one mentioned above, where workers are seriously injured or killed while on the job. Lawyers handling these types of claims also should assess if any defective or dangerous machinery is involved in a workplace injury of death, as there may be a third-party claim for product liability.

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