General Contracting Company Admits Causing Death of Employee who Fell Off Roof During Residential Roof Installation
NEWARK, N.J. – A general contracting company based in Newark today admitted violating Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, leading to the death of an employee, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.
Trustworthy LLC, d/b/a “Trustworthy Roofing and Siding,” (Trustworthy) via its owner, Derico Ferreira, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Falk in Newark federal court to an information charging it with one count of willfully violating OSHA standards by failing to provide fall protection to employees engaged in the construction of a residential home, which caused the death of an employee.
According to court documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On Oct. 15, 2016, Ferreira and four employees began installation of a new roof on a two-story residential home located in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. Trustworthy did not use or provide to its employees any personal fall protection equipment, such as safety harnesses, lanyards, tie-off ropes, guard rails, safety nets, or other feasible means of fall protection, while they were working on the roof.
During the installation of an ice and water shield, one of Trustworthy’s employees (Employee 1), fell off the left corner of the roof. Employee 1 was not wearing any fall protection gear at the time. Ferreira had the required equipment in his truck, and could have also installed a guard rail system around the perimeter of the roof from a ladder, prior to the start of roofing work, but failed to do so. Trustworthy LLC was previously cited by OSHA during an inspection in 2014 for failing to provide fall protection to its employees.
If the court accepts the terms of the plea agreement, Trustworthy will be sentenced to five years of probation and will pay restitution to the estate of Employee 1 in the amount of $305,275. The plea agreement also includes specified conditions that Trustworthy must follow, including providing training procedures to all its employees and a requirement to follow enhanced safety provisions for future construction jobs. Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 15, 2021.
Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General, New York Region, under the direction of Acting Special Agent in Charge Nikitas Splagounias; Daniel Hennefeld, Counsel for OSHA Office of the Solicitor, Region 2, and OSHA Compliance Officers with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea.
The government is represented by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Jason P. Garelick of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Government Fraud Unit in Newark.