a broken skylight cover

Two Skylight Tragedies End in Jail Sentences

A referral by Cal/OSHA (California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health) has resulted in a conviction on two felony counts for violating the state's worker safety laws. One defendant, ANC Roofing owner Kenneth Hugh Alton of Santa Rosa, entered a no contest plea to the charge of failing to protect employees from a hazard and was sentenced to nine months in jail and ordered to pay $248,000 in fines and restitution.

The violations had been uncovered by investigations that began after Antonio Quezada Serrano backed into an unguarded skylight and fell 21 feet to his death at a job site on May 11, 2006, and Jose Pina Maya sustained permanently disabling injuries on Sept. 21, 2006, when he fell 19 feet from an unprotected skylight at a separate job site, Cal/OSHA reported April 24. California law requires that employees be protected from a fall if they are working within 6 feet of a skylight.

"I am pleased that the district attorney has taken this Cal/OSHA referral and prosecuted to the full extent of the law," Cal/OSHA Chief Len Welsh said. "Cal/OSHA will continue to coordinate with District Attorneys across the state to hold accountable employers who egregiously violate state laws and put employees' lives at risk." The company received two Cal/OSHA citations, including one classified as willful, with $70,000 in penalties after Maya's injury.

Cal/OSHA said its investigation revealed that a supervisor and one of the owners of ANC were aware work would be performed adjacent to the skylight and of the previous incident, yet no precautions were taken. Company supervisor Robert Lawrence McAfee of Santa Rosa pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor violation and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. Former ANC owner Dale Charles was charged with one misdemeanor and is scheduled for arraignment May 18, according to the agency.

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