15-year-old falls to his death on first day at roofing job, feds say. Now company owes

A 15-year-old plunged 50 feet to his death on his first day on the job at an Alabama roofing company, federal officials say.

Now, the company owes more than $100,000, the Department of Labor announced in a Feb. 7 news release.

Apex Roofing & Restoration LLC violated child labor laws by hiring the teen to work in a dangerous occupation, officials said. The Fair Labor Standards Act prohibits minors from working hazardous jobs such as roofing and construction.

McClatchy News reached out to Apex Roofing & Restoration and didn’t immediately hear back Feb. 7.

The teen arrived at his first day of work on July 1, 2019. He was assigned to work on the roof of a building in Cullman when he fell roughly 50 feet to the floor, according to the release. He fractured his skull, ribs and wrist, in addition to suffering other severe injuries, officials said.

He died at the scene.

Because of the teen’s age, the company faced additional fines.

“Apex Roofing risked the life of a child by employing him to work on a roof in violation of federal child labor laws, leaving relatives and friends to grieve an unnecessary and preventable tragedy,” labor official Jessica Looman said in the release.

The latest penalty of $117,175 comes from the Wage and Hour Division, but in December 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration also cited Apex Roofing $159,118 after it said the company exposed employees to fall hazards.

In a citation, OSHA officials said employees working nearly 50 feet above the ground didn’t have safety ropes and weren’t properly trained.

Cullman is about 50 miles north of Birmingham.

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