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A federal administrative law judge fined Murray Roofing Co. of Cheektowaga $14,000 for failing to provide anti-fall measures that might have prevented an injury at the Regal Cinema construction site in Orchard Park in November, 1997.

Ann Z. Cook, a judge at the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in Washington, fined the company as a repeat violator of work-safety regulations in August.

Murray Roofing had previously been cited for a violation during an inspection in 1995, her decision said.

The review commission is a federal judicial unit that reviews disputes between employers and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Company owner Jeff Murray disagreed with the decision, saying the employee was found by medical tests to be intoxicated.

"They were in the process of being set up on the job," Murray said. "We're supposed to baby-sit everybody, even if they come in drunk on the job, I guess."

However, he said he doubted he would appeal the agency's decision to federal court.

Worker Michael J. Pinelli, then 20, stepped backward off the roof of the Regal Cinema construction project about 8 a.m. on Nov. 20, according to the OSHRC decision. He fell 32 feet, breaking his leg and suffering internal injuries.

The company failed to provide a warning line around the edge of the roof as required, an OSHA inspector found. It also failed to designate a safety monitor.

Judge Cook's decision notes Murray's contention that Pinelli was intoxicated, but neither affirms or disputes it.

Safety rules were generally disregarded at the company, and Murray's defense isn't sufficient to absolve the company of responsibility, Judge Cook said.

Pinelli said there may have been alcohol in his system from having been out the night before. But the accident wouldn't have happened if the company had used a safety line as required, he said.

Pinelli's injuries caused him to miss work for 14 months and may have permanently affected his leg, he said. He now works in a glass shop.

In another case decided in August, Murray Roofing was fined $3,150 for safety violations stemming from a 1997 inspection at the Riverfront Medical Center in North Tonawanda. The contractor lacked safety lines and adequate ladders on the site, Judge Cook said. No injuries were reported at that site.

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