Ohio Contractor Cited $253K for Fall Protection Failures
An Orwell roofing contractor continues to put himself and his workers at risk of injury or worse by defying federal requirements to use fall protection and have protective equipment readily available on job sites, a recent workplace inspection found.
On April 20, U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors observed Neal Weaver and an employee of his roofing company – operating as Grand Valley Carpentry LLC – working without fall protection on a residential roof nearly 20 feet off the ground.
OSHA cited Weaver – who, in the past, has not cooperated with federal safety inspectors under a previous company name, Dutch Heritage LLC – for exposing workers to deadly fall hazards for the sixth time in five years. The agency issued two willful violations and proposed $253,556 in penalties. Inspectors also found the crew working without required eye protection.
"Too often OSHA inspectors find employees working on residential roofs without fall protection and discover their employer has the safety equipment on-site and refuses to ensure its use," explained OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts in Cleveland. "Fall hazards make roofing work among the most dangerous jobs in construction. Employers must ensure that employees working from heights greater than 6 feet are provided fall protection equipment, and that they train workers to use the equipment safely."
OSHA cited Dutch Heritage for similar hazards in December 2016, August and September 2018, and in November and December 2019. Weaver has not responded to the citations, provided abatement or paid penalties. OSHA has referred his unpaid penalties to debt collection. In December 2019, Weaver changed his company name to Grand Valley Carpentry.
In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 1,061 construction workers died on the job, 401 of whom succumbed after a fall from elevation. In fiscal year 2020, fall protection was the standard most frequently cited by OSHA in construction-industry inspections.
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.