The Missouri Senate is considering new legislation that would regulate the state’s roofing industry in a bid to clamp down on so-called storm chasing and other unethical business practices, according to the Springfield News-Leader. In the last two years, more than 500 complaints regarding roofing were filed with the state Attorney General.
The bill proposes a voluntary registry for the state’s roofers, rather than a mandatory one put forth earlier. It would require companies to hold proof of insurance, basic identification and to indicate membership in the St. Louis-based Roofers and Siding Contractors Alliance, which supports the legislation.
About 1,400 roofers are expected to register; subcontractors and DIYers are exempt. In addition to managing the registry, the state’s Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration would also probe complaints against member business.
The new legislation in Missouri follows a similar scheme launched in Kansas in 2013 that requires roofing contractors to register with the state Attorney General and provides a database for consumers to search for qualified companies. Both registries aim to protect against contractors who follow storms in areas at risk for hail and high winds and perform shoddy work.
Illinois, too, has cracked down on similar shaky business practices. After an onslaught of tornadoes in early April 2015, the state Attorney General’s Office sued four companies over allegations of fraud and sub-par work after they attempted to address storm-related repairs.
Missouri’s move also comes amid growing concern around fall hazards in the industry at-large, which pertains to roofing contractors as they are among the most commonly cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for such violations in construction. Falls are the leading cause of death on the job site and accounted for 359 of 899 construction deaths in 2014.
The agency has issued a steady stream of citations and fines in recent months around fall violations. For example, a roofing contractor in Syracuse, NY, was fined $96,027 in October for repeat fall-protection violations, while a Hackensack, NJ-based roofing company was slapped with a $112,487 fine in December for repeat fall violations.
OSHA continues to put forth measures addressing workplace safety and last summer increased the maximum civil penalty payout by 78% in compliance with a federally mandated rate rise.
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