Following the discovery of multiple safety violations and false statements, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sentenced steel and roofing contractor Marcus Borden from Russellville, Ala. to three years of supervised probation and 30 hours of community service.
According to AL.com, Marcus Borden was in charge of a roofing project when an accident occurred during a severe thunderstorm on March 13, 2013, resulting in serious injuries to three of the laborers. During OSHA’s investigation of the incident, Borden explained to an OSHA inspector that he had been at the job site during the accident and required workers use the personal fall arrest equipment he owned. However, OSHA later discovered that Borden not only did not purchase the fall arrest equipment until five days after the incident, but also lied about the workers having been tied off to the roof.
“Marcus Borden provided false information to OSHA during the investigation and needs to face the consequences for his actions,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer in Atlanta.
Borden’s lack of preparedness and safety precautions resulted in three of the five men working that stormy day to receive serious injuries. The first worker suffered a leg amputation after he was thrown from the ledge of a new metal roof. The second worker sustained a severe shoulder injury when he was thrown across the roof. The last worker broke his wrists, ribs, tail bone and pelvis when he became wrapped in a sheet of metal. Although he managed to escape the metal wrapping, he was carried off the roof’s edge and fell approximately 30 feet to the ground.
All of the injuries could have been avoided had Borden ensured the employees were tied off to the roof, wore fall protection equipment, or even exited the roof when the weather conditions became dangerous.
“The injuries sustained by the three employees could have been avoided if Borden had fulfilled his responsibility to ensure a safe working environment and provide the necessary protection to his workers,” Petemeyer said.
Borden’s lack of responsibility during the tragic incident led to a total of 10 OSHA violations levied against him. The first six safety violations were charged against him after the first few months following the accident, such as a willful citation for not providing the laborers with standard fall protection while working within six feet of an open edge 30 feet above the ground. Another four citations were levied against Borden for allowing employees to work during severe weather conditions, as well as not securing metal decking during the inclement weather. Lastly, an “other-than-serious” violation charged Borden for not properly notifying OSHA when the workers were admitted to a hospital for their sustained injuries.
Borden first contested the allegations brought against him by OSHA, but finally settled the case and accepted a penalty of $55,000. Borden was sentenced for lying to OSHA more than two years after the construction incident occurred.