Wisconsin Contractor Faces $281K in Fall Protection Fines

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Originally Published by: OSHA — January 5, 2024
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Federal workplace safety inspectors found an Appleton contractor once again ignoring the dangers of allowing employees to do residential roof work without required fall protection equipment and training designed to protect workers from the industry's deadliest hazard: falls from elevation.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, of 1,015 construction workers who suffered fatal on-the-job injuries in 2021, 379 of them died in falls.

Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration observed three workers employed by Bacilio Rios – who operates as Chilos Construction — near the peak of an Appleton home and another employee operating a leaf blower on its roof with no form of fall protection on July 7, 2023, despite the risks of disabling or deadly injuries.

"Far too often, OSHA inspectors find roofing contractors like Bacilio Rios ignoring federal safety regulations and allowing the construction industry's most deadly hazard to endanger workers' lives and well-being," explained OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton, Wisconsin. "Bacilio Rios must take his legal responsibilities seriously and protect his employees before someone is seriously hurt or worse."

OSHA cited Bacilio Rios for four repeat violations and assessed $281,485 in proposed penalties. Specifically, the violations included the company's failure to provide fall protection equipment or train employees how to use it, improper use of ladders and failure to train workers on hazards related to falls and ladders. The agency cited Rios for similar violations in October 2022; citations for which he has failed to respond.

"Fall hazards make residential construction work among the nation's most dangerous jobs," Bonack added. "Every employer has a legal obligation to provide a safe workplace. For roofing workers, proper safety equipment and training to recognize hazards and follow safety procedures can be a matter of life and death."

OSHA's stop falls website offers safety information and video presentations in English and Spanish to teach workers about fall hazards and proper safety procedures.

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.

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