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Repeat Fall Risks Draw $73K Fine

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

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Recurring fall hazards spotted by federal inspectors at two commercial work sites have triggered multiple citations and nearly $80,000 in fines for an Illinois maintenance and roofing contractor.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Elgin-based Site Maintenance Inc. for alleged willful, repeat and serious violations that carry proposed penalties of $73,920.

The willful violation—OSHA's highest level of infraction—alleges that employees were working on steep-pitch roofs without fall protection. That one violation carries a proposed fine of $38,500.

Site Maintenance Inc. Site Maintenance
Photos: Site Maintenance Inc.

Founded in 1978, Site Maintenance Inc. provides construction repair services for the condominium and multifamily markets. The licensed roofing contractor received serious, willful and repeat citations.

OSHA also cited Site Maintenance on two occasions in 2008 and once in 2010. A company spokesman declined to comment Monday (July 15) but said the company was "innocent till proven guilty."

'Inexcusable' Hazards

The latest violations stem from inspections at two job sites in Schaumburg, IL, on April 22 and April 30.

"Falls remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Not providing fall protection to workers assigned to work on steep-pitch roofs is inexcusable," said OSHA area director Diane Turek.

"The roofing industry is well aware of the safety requirements necessary to protect their workers. The company's repeat violations show a profound lack of commitment to worker safety and health."

Repeat, Serious Violations

OSHA issued three repeat violations, alleging failure to provide fall protection for workers on a roof at a second job site and two incidents of failing to ensure the use of head protection. OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer was cited for the same or a similar violation within the past five years.

Site Maintenance Inc.

OSHA said the company allowed employees to work on steep-pitch roofs without fall protection—a hazard one official called "inexcusable."

The same violations were cited in 2008 at two job sites in Elgin and Schaumburg. In the 2008 cases, three serious violations were cited after inspections on Oct. 1 and Oct. 29. The company paid a total of $2,875 in fines—significantly reduced from their original amounts—for those six citations.

In the current case, four serious violations allege:

  • Using an indoor power strip not rated for outdoor conditions and use;
  • Failing to provide a ground fault circuit interrupter on a generator;
  • Failing to provide approved containers for flammable liquids;
  • Allowing workers to climb ladders while carrying objects that can cause a loss of balance; and
  • Using an extension ladder on uneven surfaces.

An OSHA violation is considered serious if death or serious injury can result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

Employers have 15 business days from receipt of the citations to contest the citations before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

   

Tagged categories: Commercial contractors; Fall protection; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; Maintenance programs; OSHA; Roofing contractors; Worker training

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