(UPDATED) 15-year-old worker falls to death in accident at local business

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Updated 7-1-19 at 4:40 p.m.

CULLMAN, Ala. – On Monday, a 15-year-old Guatemalan roofing worker fell to his death from the roof of Cullman Casting in south Cullman. He fell through insulation in a gap left by the removal of old roofing, dropping an estimated 35-50 feet to a concrete floor inside the building.  The youth reportedly lived in Vestavia Hills near Birmingham, and, according to Cullman Police Department (CPD) Lt. Todd Chiaranda, was employed by W and W Roofing, a subcontractor hired by primary contractor Apex Roofing to work at the site.  His brother, also employed by W and W Roofing, witnessed the accident. Co-workers reported that Monday was the boys’ first day on the job.

According to witnesses at the scene, neither the youth nor other coworkers on the roof were wearing safety harnesses. 

CPD Investigator Chuck Shikle told The Tribune, “I talked to the foreman, and he said that every morning he issues safety equipment.  Some choose to use it, some–most–choose not to use it.”

CPD Investigator Adam Clark told us that the foreman stated that he had run a safety line on the roof and issued safety harnesses, but also told us that witnesses on the scene indicated that none of the workers on the roof were wearing harnesses.

Under Alabama Law, according to a release sent to The Tribune Monday afternoon by the Alabama Department of Labor, teens as young as 14 can have summer jobs, but “No one under 18 should work on or in connection with roofing operations.”

Alabama Code 25-8-35 prohibits teens under 16 from working in jobs:

•    In the building trades, except that persons 14 or 15 years of age who are members of the immediate family of the contractor may be employed in trades involving nonhazardous duties or occupations.

•    Repairing, painting, or cleaning buildings or structures while working at the top of ladders, lifts, or scaffolds exceeding a height of six feet.

CPD investigation is ongoing.  Efforts to reach W and W Roofing were unsuccessful.

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