Illinois Contractor Faces $360K in Fall Protection Citations
A Waukegan contractor – with a history of violating federal safety standards and ignoring safety citations – was cited again by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for exposing workers to deadly fall hazards at two separate job sites in October 2021. Joshua Herion – who does business as ECS Roofing Professionals Inc. – faces proposed penalties of $360,531.
A U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector observed a foreman and two roofers atop a Hoffman Estates commercial building working at heights of up to 20 feet off the ground with inadequate fall protection. Just 10 days later, an OSHA inspector observed a crew of three working at heights greater than 12 feet atop a residential building in Waukesha, Wisconsin, without fall protection equipment.
OSHA found ECS Roofing Professionals failed to equip workers with adequate fall protection equipment, train workers on its use, provide safe access to a ladder jack scaffold platform and ensure head and eye protection were used. The agency issued one willful, four repeat and eight serious violations.
“In both of these incidents, the foreman left the site and directed others to do so when OSHA inspectors began asking questions about their safety procedures. This defiant act demonstrates Joshua Herion and his company’s disregard for the safety and well-being of workers and the law,” said OSHA’s Chicago North Area Director Angeline Loftus in Des Plaines, Illinois, who investigated the Hoffman Estates job site. “Fall hazards make roofing work among the construction industry’s most dangerous jobs and among OSHA’s most frequently cited safety hazards.”
The pair of recent inspections continues the company’s history of failing to protect its roofing workers. Since 2014, ECS Roofing Professionals has been cited seven times by OSHA for similar hazards at other job sites. The employer has failed to respond to OSHA’s requests for information, has not responded to citations from previous inspections and has had $139,656 in unpaid OSHA penalties referred to debt collection.
“While ECS Roofing Professionals seem willing to ignore the dangers of falls and the potential for serious injuries or worse, OSHA will hold Joshua Herion and other roofing contractors accountable for failing to meet the legal requirements to provide safe working conditions,” said OSHA’s Area Director Christine Zortman in Milwaukee, who investigated the Waukesha job site. “Fall injuries and fatalities are preventable with the proper use of safety equipment and training.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2020, 1,008 construction workers died on the job, with 351 of those fatalities due to falls from elevation.
OSHA’s stop falls website offers safety information and video presentations in English and Spanish to teach workers about hazards and proper safety procedures. Learn more about OSHA’s annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls, set for May 2-6.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties for the Hoffman Estates site and the Waukesha site to comply, request an informal conference with each of OSHA’s area directors, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.