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Roofing firm cited by OSHA for ignoring fall hazards

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A Massachusetts roofing contractor has been cited and faces $91,000 in proposed fines from federal regulators for exposing workers to dangerous and potentially fatal fall hazards.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Woburn, Massachusetts-based Force Corp. after an inspector driving by a North Andover, Massachusetts, worksite saw three employees at risk of falling up to 18 feet while doing a roofing job without fall protection in July, the agency said Thursday in a statement.

The company was cited for one willful violation for knowing about the fall hazard, which has been the source of previous citations against the company at other worksites in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Force was also cited for four serious violations, including the use of improperly sized ladders and damaged or uninspected safety harnesses, as well as electric shock hazard exposure, according to the statement.

“This was an imminent-danger situation,” Anthony Covello, OSHA's area director for Middlesex and Essex counties in Massachusetts, said in a statement. “These employees were one slip, trip or misstep away from a deadly or disabling fall. We began an inspection immediately. Even after the employees donned fall protection equipment, it was defective and inadequate at preventing falls. Force Corp.’s disregard of this safety requirement placed its employees at risk needlessly. This is unacceptable behavior that must change before a worker’s life or career is destroyed.”

A company spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.