Safety and OSHA News

Owner and manager sentenced to jail: 2 workers fell through skylights

The owner and a manager of a roofing company in Santa Rosa, CA, will both go to jail after a pair of incidents involving employee falls through skylights. One employee died, the other was permanently disabled.

ANC roofing owner Kenneth Alton entered a no contest plea to the charge of failing to protect employees from a hazard. He was sentenced to nine months in jail and fined $248,000.

Company supervisor Robert McAfee plead no contest to a single misdemeanor violation and was sentenced to 30 days in jail.

Another former ANC owner will be sentenced in May.

On May 11, 2006, ANC employee Antonio Serrano backed into an unguarded skylight and fell 21 feet to his death while performing roofing work. Cal/OSHA fined ANC $14,400 for not providing a barrier to prevent a fall through a skylight opening in that incident.

Four months later on Sept. 21, 2006, ANC employee Jose Maya suffered major head trauma when he fell 19 feet from an unprotected skylight while working on a different roofing project. Cal/OSHA fined ANC $70,000 in that incident and referred the case to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s office.

An investigation revealed that ANC continued to operate in flagrant violation of the California Labor Code after Serrano died in the first incident.

California law requires that employees have fall protection if they’re working within six feet of a skylight.

Print Friendly

Subscribe Today

Get the latest and greatest safety news and insights delivered to your inbox.

Comments

  1. Harvey W. Misner says:

    What date(s) were the owner and manager sentenced?

    Thank you.

    Harvey W. Misner
    Safety Director

  2. Preplanning preplanning preplanning…..and when incidents occur learn from what happened. Then take actions on those lessons learned.

  3. Fred Hosier says:

    Editor’s note: They were sentenced April 24.

  4. Michael says:

    If I’m an employee of a roofing company and I decide to work close to “unguarded” sky lights and I fall through one then it’s on me! Sounds harsh in this day and time but really, did the owner and manager throw these guys through the sky lights?! No they didn’t…..the sentence was excessive IMO.

  5. It doesn’t appear that anyone learned anything from the first incident. The second penalty does not seem too severe from my experience. It is the employer’s responsibility to know and enforce safety rules and regulations. It is the employee’s responsibility to follow the rules. If the company had provided protection and the employe simply bypassed a safety process then the ruling would be unfair. Unfortunately for everyone, the employer should have institued a process and followed it.

    Fred S. Millen, SPHR
    Human Resource Manager

  6. The rules and laws governed by OSHA are there for workers safety…Period. Sooo Michael if you were on my jobsite and DECIDED to work without the proper PPE (which should have been supplied by the employer) I would terminate your employment. The company was TOTALLY at fault for the second occurence and should have learned from the first occurence. The story doesn’t say if the company retrained their employees after the 1st instance, although it is evident the did not purchase the harness and lanyard or at least require there employees to follow the OSHA regulation on working around skylights…Mike would you feel the same way if one of these workers landed on your wife or kids while they were walking around the mall?? That’s like saying traffic laws don’t apply to me because I’m special. Get a Grip.

  7. Pete D---Maint Supervisor says:

    Well said Fred

  8. I understand an Employer should mandate some type of safety guard to alert workers of sky light locations on a roof BUT where does personal accountability EVER come into the picture. Co-workers should have “helped each other” by flaging the area and working as a team.

  9. Personal accountability comes into the picture when an employer, after instituting a procedure, follows through and actually holds employees accountable for following said procedure. No one has the right to work unsafely; everyone has the right to a safe workplace.

    Fred….again.

  10. Mark (safety director in const) says:

    it is managements DUTY to trian and inforce safety standards to make sure every employee goe’s home to thier familys just as healthy as they were when they came to work. Not on a strecher or in a body bag

  11. Is the occurence on fall anywhere the employees are not training or taken safety classes to preventing to get hurt. In different areas by OSHA regulations as FALLS, indicated the awareness in difficult areas to prevent injuries to employees. I agree to any of the people in fault for any type of accident. In my personal opinion, the owner or supervisor on the job or project, never think that nothing happens! what it is the reason? Lack of training. I believe if the employee is aware of the hazard of the job, they will be taken in care with more precautions. I ask, the company suppied to the employees signs or barricades, caution tape or similar items to place around the skylight and never was used? If the answer is no, they are more guilty that the employee. Sorry for the consecuencies but, where we must or shall stop the careless for companies and employees that never pay attention to safety.

  12. Sheila Bert says:

    As a licensed employer in a business covered under OSHA, employers know their responsibilities. OSHA is there for the protection of the workers and began because employers chose (back in the day) to get the job done regardless of the risk to its workers. OSHA states that if you expose a worker to a hazard, the employer is required to train the workers. Where was the training here? It’s a simple fix to train a worker in the nature of the hazards and provide the proper PPE to protect that worker. Much simpler than to live the rest of your life knowing this simple fix could have saved a person’s life. That is something that most people, even employers, have a hard time dealing with.

  13. Bob Grooms says:

    What, if any, requirements does an employer/building owner/lessee have with skylights on an older building, when employees are never on the roof. We had an adjustor fall through a skylight when inspecting a roof for hurricane damage in Texas?

  14. Randall says:

    Bob Grooms – It is the employer’s responsibility to protect their workers, no matter where the jobsite is located. In your case, the adjuster’s employer should provide the training and personal protective equipment to the adjuster. BUT – That doesn’t mean the building owner/lessee is not liable if anything happens. You can bet that if the adjuster fell thru the skylight the building owner/lessee would be named in the lawsuit. The building owner/lessee’s best course of action: Do not allow anyone on the roof without fall protection. But, let their company provide it.

  15. To Michael, easier said than done. Not to mention near ignorant & arrogant! I’m sure your family won’t feel that way, whether you survive & become disabled or die from the incident. It is the employer’s responsibility in providing both protection and training to their employees, no matter how you look at it. The sentence wasn’t excessive enough, lives were lost – one dead, while the other disabled for life!! As Pete D said, “Get a Grip.” Seems to me you must be one of these type of employers – irresponsible!!!

  16. To Michael

    It is the responsability of everyone to be alert and be able to identify safety hazards. In a perfect world no one would get injuries or have accidents because everyone is alert. But it isn’t that way. It is a fact that not all employees are the sharpest crayon in the box and they do not pay attention of there surroundings, you seem to be one of these dull crayons, therefore the company can never let there responsability to safety fall through the cracks and surely not let there employees fall through unguarded skylight openings. I think a little jail time for the owners and supervisors is in order to give them time to think about the death and permanent injury to another. And lets hope there will not be anymore injuries. Be safe!!!

  17. The employer is responsible for what happens at any work site but the employee also has to be responsible. The article doesn’t say if the training and safety equipment was supplied. I often see people in all industries take short cuts to make things easier when they think nobody is looking. I think jail time is severe unless there was really no training or safety equipment to be used.

  18. A wise man once told me “you can’t get this stupid on your own, you have to be taught to be this stupid”. Liberal, no responsibility for one’s actions, Big Brother come punish these horrible business owners for MY stupidity. Most of you have obviously been indoctrinated with these “priciples”. My (entire) family feels exactly as I do, if one of these workers fell on top of my wife or kids it would indeed be tragic and an ACCIDENT. No need for bottom dwelling lawyers or any other actions to punish a hard working owner or the worker’s family. Criminal acts are just that….CRIMINAL! If the owner of the company threw his employee out the window and he landed on my family member I’m sure that me and the employee’s family would support prosecution to the fullest! Again, as I always sign off on my posts, ABOLISH OSHA!!

  19. Michael:

    Thanks for providing the quote that explains your position.

    You clearly are not a safety person, so why are you on this newsletter’s mailing list?

  20. Michael

    My god the story said there was no protection suppiled inspite of California Labor Law Or OSHA standards. Your comments are not well thought out.

    My better half developed COPD and 5 other treminal diseases from bretahing in the chemicals used to clean motion pictures. That was in the early 1970,s during a time when PPE was not a mandate a couple of years later had to live on Oxygen for 24 hours a day for 12 years until dying in 2007, there were multiple hospitalizations therapies and in house equipment that hand to be on hand to sustain life. I worked an average 10 hour work day to suport us then came home and worked another 8 hours to maintain my home base.

    I fully understand your comments on personel responsibility but on most jobs ongoing training is needed as most folk are not aware of dangers. In my head I could see Mr Serrano working bent over backing into a skylight and falling through. I had the same reaction regarding Mr Maya, I am glad Mr Maya survived but he could be a constant burden on his family if he suffered brain damage or someother debilitating injury.

    Frequently (and I speak from experiance) it is up to the ones who love the injured worker to care for them ranging from medications to therapies. That is a hard road to travel.

    I truly hope no one in your family never suffers any kind of accident due to an employers or manufacturers neglence. I think you need to explore more of the folk that have permanent injuries through no fault of their own. It may be neither of theses two men knew about the PPE or had been issued PPE so yes the company is at fault. The penelties (again think of your own family) to me seem light as there was a death and a head injury (many head injury problems take a long while to manifest them selves I truly hope that is not the case).

    You comments when applied to first responders such as the 911 ground zero World Trade buliding disaster make it seem that the illness they are suffering now are their fault for trying to due their jobs that is to help people in trouble.

    I think you need to review the above and really think over your attitudes before making these comments, and YES I am offended watch the love of your life slowly die for 20 years because theyr were not protected at work and see how you and your family feel..

Speak Your Mind

*