Premier South Roofing faces nearly $250,000 in fines after ignoring warnings and worker falls to death | Company
Premier South Roofing, a major Baton Rouge roofing company, is facing nearly $250,000 in federal penalties after the company ignored earlier warnings from regulators and an unprotected worker fell from 30 feet and died in April.
The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration said the worker’s death on April 2 could have been avoided if Premier South Roofing had not ignored warnings from an investigation at another job site in February and used the recommended protective measures to prevent falls.
“Falls continue to be the leading cause of death in the construction industry and yet employers like Premier South Roofing LLC have repeatedly failed to protect their workers from the risk of disabling injury or worse,” Roderic Chube , Baton Rouge-based OSHA regional director, said in a statement Monday.
“Ensuring workers are trained and use proper fall protection, as required by law, can prevent such tragedies from happening again.”
In 2020, nearly 35% of construction deaths in the United States were due to falls, according to data from federal workers.
OSHA said these deaths could be prevented with proper training and pre-planning of jobs to identify hazards and necessary safety equipment, including harnesses, scaffolding and ladders.
OSHA has said workers who are 6 feet or more above a lower floor are at risk of serious injury or death if they fall.
The Premier South worker who died in April was part of a roof repair and replacement crew. The worker lost his footing, stepped and fell through a skylight to one floor below, OSHA officials said.
The 22-year-old man, who was not identified, later died in a hospital, OSHA said.
OSHA said five other workers on that April 2 job were also at risk of falling.
Following an inspection in April, OSHA cited Premier South for two repeat violations for failing to provide fall protection and failing to verify employee training. The company now faces $249,323 in proposed penalties, the agency said.
The location of the April 2 workplace death has not been identified, but OSHA said Premier South Roofing works in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, the North Shore and other areas of the state.
The roofing company in Louisiana went through a busy time after Hurricane Ida tore through the state last year.
The company has approximately 200 employees who do residential and commercial roofing.
A person answering the phone at Premier South Roofing’s Baton Rouge office said Monday the company declined to comment.
Previous warnings to Premier South Roofing stemmed from observations by an OSHA inspector on Feb. 2.
The inspector observed five company employees working on a roof without adequate fall protection. The finding triggered an inspection under the agency’s regional construction focus program, OSHA said.
Since Jan. 1, 2016, Premier South Roofing has been issued more than $64,500 in OSHA fines for past violations related to lack of fall protection and safe ladder handling, according to the website. OSHA.
At least one of these fall protection violations was a repeat citation and the fine total incorporates reduced penalties following informal settlements with OSHA.