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Builder Cited 5th Time in 5 Years

Monday, August 11, 2014

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An Illinois builder’s failure to address the same violations over and over and over has now earned him willful citations and fines totaling $55,000, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports.

Elmer Miller, dba Miller Building Systems LLC, of Savoy, IL, has been cited five times in five years for similar violations.

In the latest round, OSHA has deemed the violations willful—the agency's highest level of infraction. It is an unusually serious classification for hazards that did not result in injuries, but reflects the repetitive nature of the violations.

Arcola IL Main Street
Wikimedia Commons / Daniel Schwen

Miller Building Systems is a general contractor in Arcola, IL (pictured). The willful citations against the builder follow years of repeat violations.

The company is also still in arrears over its last fines, records show.

A call to Miller seeking comment was not returned Friday (Aug. 8).

Fall, Overhead Hazards

The newest citations, which stem from an inspection April 9, accuse Miller of exposing workers to fall and overhead hazards while doing roofing work on a home under construction in Savoy.

An OSHA inspector saw two employees applying sheathing at the home on April 9. The workers were not provided with any fall protection, such as guardrail systems, safety nets, warning-line systems or personal fall arrest systems.

In addition, inspectors saw one other employee working at ground level without head protection, exposing him to overhead hazards from the roofers.

Falls in residential construction
OSHA

Falls are the leading cause of death in residential construction, according to OSHA.

Both violations are considered willful—"committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health are willful violations," according to OSHA.

'Significant History'

“Miller Building Systems has a significant history of violations and has shown consistent reluctance to enforce basic safety standards to protect workers from falls,” said Thomas Bielema, OSHA’s area director in Peoria.

According to OSHA, that history includes:

  • Six serious citations and one other-than-serious citation in April 2009, with fines totaling $2,850 (later settled as three serious and one other-than-serious and a fine of $1,995);
  • One serious and two repeat violations in August 2009, with fines totaling $8,000 (settled with a fine of $4,800);
  • One serious and three repeat violations in March 2013, with fines totaling $32,560 (reduced to $15,000); and
  • Three repeat and one other-than-serious citation in November 2013, with fines totaling $35,840). That case is pending, and the fines have been referred to debt collection, according to OSHA records.

“Falls remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and lack of fall protection is the most frequently cited OSHA standard," said Bielema.

   

Tagged categories: Fall protection; General contractors; Hazards; OSHA; Personal protective equipment; Residential Construction

Comment from Wayne Yancey, (8/11/2014, 11:16 AM)

Will it be 6 times in 6 years, etc, etc, etc.? This contractor is a habitual offender. When does OSHA pull the plug on this firm to prevent further infractions. Most likely, the original ofender will cease operations under the current name and start up again under a new name and continue on as business as usual.


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