For Merit Roofing, spring was busy. Jerry, Merit Roofing's
owner, was pleased he had enough work to rotate his crews between
day and night shifts. But he realized his company's increasing
success would require him to hire more workers.
As a result, Jerry hired more roofing workers who spoke Spanish
as a first language. Eventually, each roofing crew included several
workers who barely could speak or understand English. When
possible, a foreman would include a Spanish-speaking worker on each
crew who could understand English well enough to interpret
One afternoon, before a night roofing job, Mike, a Merit Roofing
foreman, met with his crew in the company's yard to talk about
potential safety hazards. Because several crew members spoke
Spanish as a first language, one worker interpreted Mike's
Mike explained the risk of falling off a roof and tripping over
obstacles increases because of decreased visibility at night. Mike
also said adequate lighting for roof access areas, paths of travel,
and around a kettle or tanker is critical and should be set
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