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Roofing company owner pleads guilty to charges involving fatal fall

James J. McCullagh, owner of James J. McCullagh Roofing, Jenkintown, Pa., pleaded guilty to one count of willfully violating an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulation causing death to an employee; four counts of making false statements; and one count of obstruction of justice, according to www.osha.gov.

The case stems from a 2014 incident when a worker who was not provided with fall protection fell 45 feet from a roof while performing roofing repairs on a church in Philadelphia. McCullagh's company still faces civil penalties for willful and serious OSHA violations related to the same accident. The civil matter is pending before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. McCullagh's company is not an NRCA member.

Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health David Michaels issued the following statement: "I would like to thank the U.S. Attorney's Office and the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Inspector General for all their hard work on this case. No penalty can bring back the life of this employee, but the outcome in this case will send a clear message that when employers blatantly and willfully ignore worker safety and health responsibilities, resulting in death or serious injury to workers, or lie to or obstruct OSHA investigators, we will pursue enforcement to the fullest extent of the law, including criminal prosecution."

McCullagh faces a maximum statutory sentence of 25 years in prison, a possible fine, supervised release and a $510 special assessment.

Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. NRCA offers a tool that helps to educate about all aspects of fall protection in the roofing industry. To view NRCA's fall-protection compliance program, Serving Up Safety: A Recipe for Avoiding Falls on the Job, click here.


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