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Roofer Faces 9th OSHA Case in 10 Years

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

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An Illinois roofing contractor with a slew of past federal safety violations has been fined another $47,960 for exposing workers to falls of heights up to 20 feet and other hazards.

Woodridge Enterprises Inc., of Lemont, was cited for eight alleged safety violations—three repeat and five serious—at a residential job site in Hinsdale, IL, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced April 11.

This inspection, in January, was the ninth for the company since 2003, with each inspection resulting in citations and fines, the agency said.

OSHA
OSHA

Falls are the leading cause of death for workers in residential construction.

Woodridge did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday (April 17). The company does not have a website.

Because of the hazards and the violations cited, the company has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.

Repeat Violations

OSHA issued citations for two repeat violations, each carrying $15,400 in proposed fines, alleging lack of fall protection for workers on a scaffold higher than 19 feet and in construction activities at a height of 20 feet.

A third repeat violation, carrying a $6,160 fine, alleges failure to extend ladders at least three feet above the landing surface, the agency said.

A repeat violation exists when an employer has been cited for the same or a similar violation within the past five years.

Woodridge was cited in June 2012, February 2010 and March 2009 at sites in Hinsdale, Carol Stream and Elmhurst, IL, for similar violations, OSHA said.

Serious Scaffold Violations

The five new serious violations, carrying proposed penalties ranging from $1,760 to $3,080, allege:

  • Failure to train and certify powered industrial truck operators;
  • Failure to provide safe access to a ladder jack scaffold;
  • Bridging ladder jack scaffolds together;
  • Allowing workers to use a scaffold that exceeded 20 feet in height; and
  • Failure to install anchorage points on personal fall arrest system per manufacturer's specifications and able to support 5,000 pounds, as required.

A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.

Putting Workers at Risk

"Woodridge Enterprises has been repeatedly cited for violations of fall protection standards," said Kathy Webb, OSHA's area director in North Aurora, IL. "These violations put roofers at risk of serious or fatal injuries.

"Falls remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and companies who perform this type of work must take responsibility for protecting their workers on the job."

fall protection
NAHB

The company has a long history of citations for fall-protection hazards.

More information on fall protection standards is available in English and Spanish at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls.

OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program focuses on recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations. Under the program, OSHA may inspect any of the employer's facilities if it has reasonable grounds to believe there are similar violations.

Earlier Record

A review of OSHA's online database shows a series of past citations and fines levied against the roofing contractor.

In 2012, the company was fined more than $55,000 for safety infractions at two different jobsites.

OSHA fined the company $4,620 for a serious fall-protection violation in May 2012. The fine was reduced to $1,848 in an informal settlement in June, but the case remains open, according to OSHA.

At another jobsite the same month, the company was cited for one serious and two repeat safety violations, carrying original fines totalling $49,500, for not protecting workers from falls. Woodridge informally settled for $19,800, but the case remains open, per OSHA's database.

In February 2009, OSHA hit the roofing contractor with five serious and one repeat citation, carrying $11,000 in fines. Two of the serious citations were later dropped, and the fines were decreased to $3,500 in an informal conference. The repeat violation alleged fall protection hazards; the serious citations involved general safety requirements, according to OSHA's database.

In Decemberof 2009, Woodridge Enterprises was fined $14,800 (later reduced to $8,000 in an informal settlement) for two serious and two repeat violations involving failure to provide fall protection and other hazards.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

   

Tagged categories: Enforcement; Fall protection; Health and safety; OSHA; Regulations; Roofing contractors

Comment from Donald L Crusan, (4/23/2013, 9:12 AM)

Hopefully all of the greedy contractors using illegals take note. How many of you have seen these crews of Latinos chattering away on your roof and you just ignored it. They fall, die, get maimed, and our medical system treats them because the contractor refuses resonsiblility. Pgh is late to this game but most roofers are now seem to fall in this category. Even the roofing supply wholesalers cater to them. Cash money!! Hum.


Comment from M. Halliwell, (4/23/2013, 10:59 AM)

I'm somewhat surprised that the fines handed out are only for "repeat" violations. After that many repeats, you'd expect OSHA to step up (like they have wityh fewer repeat violations in other cases) and start handing out "willful" violations. If $2,000 to $55,000 means nothing to this company, maybe starting to get some regular fines in the $100,000+ range and some jail time might wake someone up. If not, maybe OSHA needs the ability to shut companies like this down and prevent those responsible from just starting up another company in the same industry.


Comment from Donald L Crusan, (4/24/2013, 9:50 AM)

Anyone else read this from OH this morning? Feds seize home in illegal worker probe Half-million home bought by owner of Dayton roofing company seized by federal prosecutor. http://www.mydaytondailynews.com/news/news/crime-law/feds-seize-home-in-illegal-worker-probe/nXWBc/?icmp=daytondaily_internallink_textlink_apr2013_day


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