The Independent is Austin’s “Jenga Tower”

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November 1, 2019

An Akron, Ohio, contractor has been sentenced to three years in prison and $303,152 in restitution after his employee fell three floors to his death without wearing the required fall protection. Jim Coon, owner of Jim Coon Construction, who also failed to provide workers’ compensation coverage, will pay the fine to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

On November 4, 2017, Gerardo “Jerry” Juarez, a 38-year old employee on his second day on the job, slipped on a steep and damp cedar roof, slid to the edge, rolled over a jack board, and fell 25 feet to the ground below. Neither he nor any of his coworkers were utilizing fall protection, and the employee had not received training on fall hazards. Juarez was a father of five.

James Coon
James Coon
Coon had been in the construction business for two decades and had had two other employees who had fallen off or through roofs they were repairing, it was disclosed in court.

Loren Sweatt, Washington, D.C.-based principal deputy assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health, said in a statement, “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.”

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