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Court: Alabama Roofing Contractor Made False Statements to OSHA

Sept. 14, 2015
OSHA inspectors following an incident that seriously injured three workers determined the contractor lied about the circumstances surrounding the incident.

On April 6, 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice charged Marcus Borden with making false statements and lying to OSHA inspectors regarding an incident investigation at one of Borden's work sites in Cordova, Ala., on March 18, 2013.

Borden was supervising a crew of five men working on a roofing project when a severe thunderstorm occurred. Three of the five men were seriously injured. One worker was thrown against the edge of a new metal roof and suffered a left arm amputation; a second worker was thrown across the roof and suffered an injured shoulder. A third worker became wrapped in a sheet of metal, managed to escape, but was carried by the momentum over the roof's edge and fell 30 feet to the ground. The worker broke his wrists, ribs, tail bone and pelvis. None of the workers had been provided with fall protection equipment, none of them were tied-off to the roof at the time of the accident or had a means to exit the roof quickly.

Borden told an OSHA inspector that he had been present on the job site on the day of the accident and that he had obtained personal fall arrest equipment to protect workers from falls on March 13, 2013, when actually he retained the equipment on March 18, 2013, after the incident occurred. Borden also claimed that employees had been tied off when he knew, in fact, they were not.

OSHA cited Borden for six safety violations following the incident, including a willful citation for failing to provide workers with fall protection while working within 6 feet of an open edge that was 30 feet above the ground. Additionally, four serious violations were cited for exposing workers to severe weather conditions and not securing metal decking during inclement weather conditions. One other violation was cited for failing to notify OSHA about the workers being admitted to the hospital due to a work-related incident. Borden contested OSHA's citations but later settled the case, agreeing to all violations as cited and a penalty of $55,000. The settlement was approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and became a final order on July 23, 2014.

"Marcus Borden provided false information to OSHA during the investigation and needs to face the consequences for his actions," said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA's regional administrator in Atlanta. "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."

Borden pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements on May 13. On Aug. 6 he was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and must complete 30 hours of community service.

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