Roofing Firm Cited After Fatal Fall; Superintendent Charged with Obstruction

On Oct. 10, 2007, an employee of Winter's Architectural Roofing Co., based in Carbon Cliff, Ill., was killed when he fell 16 feet through a skylight. Following an investigation, OSHA issued eight citations for alleged safety and health violations with proposed penalties totaling $224,000. Meanwhile, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of Illinois, at Rock Island also charged Stephen Vyncke, a superintendent employed by Winter's, for allegedly obstructing OSHA's investigation of the incident. Obstruction of an agency proceeding is a felony offense.

"The Occupational Safety and Health Administration applauds the U.S. Attorney's decision to prosecute Vyncke because it sends a strong message that obstructing an OSHA investigation is a serious offense that will not be tolerated," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Edwin G. Foulke Jr.

OSHA issued eight willful citations to the roofing company for its failure to provide fall protection in hoisting areas and on low-sloped roofs, failing to cover skylight openings to prevent falls, and not training employees about fall hazards. Seven of the citations allege per-instance willful violations of three OSHA requirements. A willful violation is defined as one committed with an intentional disregard of, or plain indifference to, the requirements of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and regulations.

Prior to this investigation, OSHA inspected the company in 2002, resulting in a serious citation for failing to provide fall protection during roofing operations. The company has been in business since 1937.

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