Justice for Roofers

In the last ten years, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has kept a close eye on Nu-Tec Roofing. During that time period, OSHA inspectors around the country have visited Nu-Tec worksites to investigate how much attention they give to the safety of their workers. OSHA has found Nu-Tec Roofing in violation during investigations on eighteen inspections from October of 1995 until September of 2004.

The company was cited for a total of forty-seven violations of OSHA standards in just nine years. Nine other violations committed by Nu-Tec have been deleted from OSHA’s webpage, otherwise the total number would be fifty-six. That would average out to about three violations per inspection. Of the forty-seven violations cited by OSHA, a total of twenty-eight were considered “serious” and another seven violations were classified as “repeat”, meaning that Nu-Tec had been warned before to correct the problems and they failed to do so in the determination of OSHA’s inspectors. Out of the violations committed by Nu-Tec, OSHA fined them a total of $48,190.

The high number of safety violations that OSHA found is not surprising after speaking with several former employees of Nu-Tec Roofing. Alberto Nava, who had worked for over a year for Nu-Tec stated in an interview “They would only give us one safety talk a month and that would only last half an hour. We never saw the Material Data Safety Sheets from OSHA. They were never in the safety boxes or posted anywhere. We didn’t even know about them. They didn’t even have emergency kits on the jobsites.” Nava also affirmed that “The only safety equipment they gave us were our hardhats and a pair of bad safety glasses. They wouldn’t give us gloves or [dust mask] filters for what we were breathing. We had to cut pieces of our own shirts to wrap around our mouths so that we wouldn’t breathe in the dust of what we were working on.” Not having the proper filters and masks exposes roofers to serious health risks since they might breathe in dangerous chemicals or dust such as silica, which can lead to lung disease.

David Cortes, who had worked at Nu-Tec Roofing for two years, tells of an experience while working for Nu-Tec, “Once we were working at the Deaf School here in Indianapolis, I saw an old man who was working with us fall on his back and he continued falling until he went over the roof. He was trying to stop falling with his hands and feet, but he couldn’t. His hands were also roughed up during the fall from being dragged against the roof as he fell. His backside was also hurt as he was falling, everything. He said his whole back, his shoulder and his lower back all hurt very much after the fall, but they made him get back up on the roof and continue working, even though he looked like he was in a lot of pain. They didn’t send him to the hospital or anything. The foreman didn’t even check to see if he was all right, he just sent him back up on the roof. I couldn’t believe it.” David added, “If you did get hurt, or cut, or whatever, they never did anything except wash off where you were hurt. If they had Band-Aids, they would give you one to put on. If not, you had to cover the wound with a piece of clothing or a rag.”

Rafael Cortes worked at Nu-Tec Roofing for three years and has similar horror stories. Rafael stated that once while they were on a roof “…we were loading insulation on to the roof from a crane. One of the pieces of insulation almost fell on top of one of the other workers. We were yelling at the driver of the crane to stop, but he accelerated. It was just luck that someone wasn’t killed. Two pieces of insulation did fall and the other worker was trapped between the pieces of insulation.” Rafael claims that while at Nu-Tec, “If there was an accident, the company always covered it up. They wouldn’t do anything. When something would happen they treated us even worse. Like, they would make us work even longer, fifteen or sixteen hours a day.”

Affiliated With Indiana State Roofers Council
2702 S. Foltz St., Indianapolis, IN 46241 • Phone: (317)-440-6199 • Fax: (317)-484-8993