NJ construction company pleads guilty to violations that led to worker’s death

Zona Roofing was charged with failing to provide fall protections

NJ Construction Firm Guilty of Violations in Worker’s Death

(Photo Illustration by The Real Deal with Getty)

A construction company based in Old Bridge, New Jersey, has pleaded guilty to violating Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, leading to the death of one of its employees.

The plea by Zona Roofing was entered by the company’s owner, Yilbert Segura, Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge José R. Almonte in Newark federal court, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.

The charges stem from an incident on Aug. 8, 2019, when Zona Roofing employees, including the victim, were replacing a home’s roof in Haledon, New Jersey. Despite working at a height exceeding 20 feet, the employees lacked personal fall protection equipment such as safety harnesses, lanyards, tie-off ropes, guard rails or nets. No worker had received training on fall protection.

One of Zona Roofing’s employees lost his balance and fell about 22 feet to the ground, sustaining fatal head injuries. The victim was not equipped with any fall protection gear, and the absence of training contributed to the incident, the release said.

Zona had been cited by Maryland OSHA in February 2019 for a similar violation.

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If the court accepts the plea agreement, Zona will face five years’ probation and be required to pay $75,000 in restitution to the victim’s family.

The company must also implement comprehensive training procedures for all employees and enhanced safety provisions for future projects. The sentencing is scheduled for March 25.

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In 2021, nearly 1 in 5 American workplace deaths occurred in the construction industry, according to a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Most fatal falls in private construction occur with specialty trade contractors. Such accidents have been on the rise in recent years.

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