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14-year-old falls from local roofing job; OSHA issues major fines

14 year old falls from roofing job in Berea and construction company get fined thousands of dollars by OSHA.png
Posted at 4:07 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 19:02:36-05

CLEVELAND, OH — OSHA just announced today major fines against two local roofing companies. One incident involves a 14-year-old boy falling from a roof.

5 On Your Side Investigators obtained doorbell video from across the street of a roofing job on Pebble Court in Berea on December 17, 2020. In the video, you can see roofers from Double M Roofing & Construction on top of a condo. All of a sudden, the boy slipped and fell 20 feet to the driveway below.

Workers called 9-1-1. “A guy on a roofing crew just fell off of a roof,” can be heard from the recorded call. “He’s unconscious. He’s unresponsive in a driveway.”

With EMS on the way, the caller described the injuries. “There is blood on the ground next to his mouth…not very much, just a small, little bit,” said the caller. “He is wheezing. His breathing is very labored… non-responsive.”

“Roofing work is…one of the most dangerous construction jobs in the country,” said Howie Eberts who is the Area Director of the OSHA Office in Cleveland. He told us teens are not supposed to be on roofing jobs at all.

“It was horrible, especially right before Christmas. I felt so bad,” said Eberts. “My thoughts and prayers go out to this 14-year-old and their family.”

Eberts told us the boy had significant head trauma and brain injuries. Then, at the site of the accident, Eberts said police and EMS noticed workers trying to cover up the fact that they were not wearing safety devices.

“They were putting on their fall protection after the fact,” said Eberts. “So, that was disturbing to us as well.”

And if that wasn’t bad enough, two weeks later, OSHA said it did another inspection of Double M Roofing & Construction, and workers were still not wearing fall protection gear.

“Even though the company was aware of the fall and the requirement for fall protection, and had all the fall protection equipment, they refused to use it,” Eberts said.

OSHA fined Double M Roofing & Construction based out of West Farmington nearly $75,000 for these incidents.

We have reached out to the company and its owner Melvin Schmucker. We have not heard back yet. The company has three weeks to respond to the fines and make any disputes.

Meanwhile, OSHA also announced it fined another roofing company owner Ivan Lowky from ILS Construction in Hartville nearly $120,000 for not using fall protection equipment during a November 2020 job in Canton. OSHA reported it’s the sixth violation since 2012 for Lowky, who’s racked up more than $300,000 in fines. OSHA told us Lowky hasn’t made one payment on any of the violations.

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