An Ohio county court has sentenced Jim Coon – a roofing contractor based in Akron, Ohio – to prison after he pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a 39-year-old employee who fell from a three-story roof while working without required fall protection in November 2017. The court’s action follows an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that found the contractor failed to install fall protection systems.
Judge Alison McCarty sentenced Coon – owner of Jim Coon Construction – to three years in prison for ignoring safety hazards, and failing to provide workers’ compensation coverage as required. In addition to his incarceration, the court ordered Coon to pay $303,152 in restitution to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation after he pleaded guilty to workers’ compensation fraud.
Falls continue to be the leading cause of fatalities in the construction industry, which makes the use of proper protection essential. Jim Coon willfully disregarded OSHA fall protection regulations that could have prevented this tragedy. 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.