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Roofer Hit with 7th OSHA Case

Thursday, March 5, 2015

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A Nebraska roofer with a 10-year history of federal safety violations and thousands of dollars in unpaid fines is facing yet another case with similar allegations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has accused Affordable Exteriors Inc., of Omaha, of six new violations: two willful, one repeat and three serious, the agency announced Monday (March 2). Proposed fines total $75,240.

The company has been fined seven times in the past 10 years, authorities said.

Affordable Exteriors has also failed to pay penalties assessed from previous violations, which exceeded $51,000 in December 2014. OSHA announced the arrears Dec. 1 as it issued a new case with $140,000 in fines against the company.

fall protection
OSHA

Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry.

At the time, OSHA said Affordable Exteriors had "consistently broken the law by failing to provide fall protection to those employees working on roofs." Some of the roofs in that case were steeply pitched and 18 feet high, OSHA said.

Affordable Exteriors was placed in the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program at that time. The company has contested the citations issued in that case, according to an OSHA spokesman.

As of Wednesday, the company had current outstanding debt totalling $274,102.13, Scott Allen, the regional director for Public Affairs and Media Relations wrote in an email.

Owner to Seek Mitigation

Company owner Rich Tiller told Journalstar.com that he planned to meet with officials and discuss his efforts to comply with safety requirements and possible mitigation of the proposed fines in the current case.

"By refusing to correct these dangerous problems, Affordable Exteriors continues to expose employees to serious—and preventable—physical harm, and this is unacceptable," OSHA area director Bonita Winingham said in a statement.

2 Willful Violations

The latest citations stem from an inspection conducted in October under a local emphasis program for falls.

OSHA's investigation found three employees installing rafters and two installing roof sheathing on a home under construction.

All five were working more than 12 feet off the ground without adequate fall protection. Fall protection is required at working heights of six feet or above.

building inspector
© iStock.com / stask

The citations stem from an OSHA inspection conducted in October 2014 at a jobsite in Elkhorn, NE. The image does not show the inspection in this case.

The two willful violations allege failure to provide fall protection and train workers on the use of, and requirement for, fall protection equipment.

The highest level of OSHA infraction, a willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

Those violations each carried $30,800 in proposed fines.

Repeat Citation

One repeat violation, carrying a $4,400 fine, was issued for not securing elevated platforms to the rough terrain forklift on the site. The company was previously cited for this violation in May 2013 at a jobsite in Omaha.

OSHA issues repeated violations if an employer was cited for a similar violation in the past five years.

3 Serious Infractions

Three serious violations allege fall hazards from unprotected sides and edges, improper use of ladders, and lack of training on ladder safety.

The serious infractions carried $9,240 in fines.

ladder
OSHA

The company was also cited for serious violations involving ladder safety.

An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard that an employer knew, or should have known, existed.

OSHA offers information on falls and fall prevention on its website.

Affordable Exteriors has 15 business days from the receipt of the citations to comply with or contest the citations.

   

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

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