Police Line

AKRON, Ohio — An Ohio-based roofing contractor has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter regarding the death of a 39-year-old employee.

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Jim Coon, owner of Jim Coon Construction, failed to install proper fall protection systems. This resulted in one of his employees falling from a three-story roof while working without the required fall protection in November 2017.

On Sept. 6, 2019, Summit County Judge Alison McCarty sentenced Coon for ignoring safety hazards and failing to provide workers’ compensation coverage as required. In addition to the incarceration, the court ordered Coon to pay $303,152 in restitution to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation after he pled guilty to workers’ compensation fraud. The court’s decision followed an investigation from OSHA.

“Falls continue to be the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry, which makes the use of proper protection essential,” said Loren Sweatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. “Jim Coon willfully disregarded OSHA fall protection regulations that could have prevented this tragedy.”

As previously reported by RC, falls remain a top hazard for roofing contractors. OSHA, along with the National Safety Council, listed it as the number one most cited violation for 2019, followed by hazard communication and scaffolding.

“This case should serve as a reminder to all employers to comply with their legal obligation to provide required safety equipment, and protect employees on job sites,” Sweatt said.

OSHA has developed a collection of compliance assistance resources to help address falls in the workplace.