OSHA Fines Framing Contractor $229K
For the sixth time in seven years, a federal workplace inspection has found a Roselle construction contractor putting workers at risk of serious injury or death by defying federal requirements to ensure the use of fall protection.
On April 16, 2021, U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors observed employees of Emerald Inc. without fall protection while performing framing and carpentry work at a residential townhome development under construction in Elk Grove Village.
OSHA cited the company for one willful, five repeat and two serious safety violations, and proposed $229,792 in penalties. OSHA identified similar hazards present at Emerald Inc. work sites in February 2021, May 2020, February 2018, December 2017 and October 2017, and issued citations. The company has failed to resolve the issued citations, leading OSHA to refer $172,521 in unpaid penalties to debt collection.
“Working from heights is among the most dangerous jobs in construction. Emerald Inc.'s continued failure to follow federal safety laws requiring the use of fall protection risks the lives and livelihoods of its workers,” said OSHA's Chicago North Area Director Angeline Loftus in Des Plaines, Illinois. “OSHA standards are designed to prevent workers from suffering serious and life threatening injuries from workplace falls. Employers in the construction industry must ensure required fall prevention methods and equipment are used, and must train workers on their proper use.”
In addition to the fall protection violation, OSHA found the crew working without required eye protection and hard hats, and exposed to fall hazards due to improper ladder use and lack of stair rails. Inspectors also noted Emerald Inc. failed to train employees on fall hazards and in the safe use of powered industrial vehicles.
In 2019, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 1,061 construction workers died on the job, 401 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.