A contactor that had previously been cited by OSHA for failing to protect its employees from falls admitted its role in the death of a worker who plunged from a roof during a job in Fair Lawn, federal authorities said.
Trustworthy Roofing and Siding of Newark, through its owner, pleaded guilty Thursday before a magistrate judge to “willfully violating OSHA standards by failing to provide fall protection to employees engaged in the construction of a residential home,” Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig said.
By doing so, he admitted, the company “caused the death of an employee,” she said.
Owner Derico Ferreira and four employees of Trustworthy began putting a new roof on the two-story, two-family home on Vanore Drive in October 2016, Honig said.
The company “did not use or provide to its employees any personal fall protection equipment, such as safety harnesses, lanyards, tie-off ropes, guard rails, safety nets, or other feasible means of fall protection, while they were working on the roof,” she said.
One of them fell off a corner of the roof during the installation of an ice and water shield, Honig said.
The worker, 33, “was not wearing any fall protection gear at the time,” she said.
Ferreira “had the required equipment in his truck, and could have also installed a guard rail system around the perimeter of the roof from a ladder, prior to the start of roofing work but failed to do so,” the U.S. attorney said.
The company was previously cited by OSHA during an inspection in 2014 for failing to provide fall protection to its employees, Honig said.
Trustworthy took a deal from the government rather than face trial following the latest incident.
If U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk accepts the terms of the plea agreement, Honig said, the company will be sentenced to five years of probation and must pay $305,275 in restitution to the deceased employee’s estate.
“The plea agreement also includes specified conditions that Trustworthy must follow, including providing training procedures to all its employees and a requirement to follow enhanced safety provisions for future construction jobs,” she added.
Falk scheduled sentencing in U.S. District Court in Newark for Sept. 15.
Honig credited special agents of the New York Region’s U.S. Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General, Daniel Hennefeld, who’s counsel for OSHA’s Region 2 Solicitor’s Office and OSHA compliance officers with the investigation leading to the guilty plea, secured by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason P. Garelick of her Government Fraud Unit in Newark.
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