If it feels like OSHA and a construction/roofing company in Nebraska was just on the blog after an investigation, that’s because it was.
Except today’s blog post is actually about another company with a similar situation but many different details, and fortunately, it appears that this particular investigation did not involve any workers getting hurt or dying.
Unfortunately, it appears that this company struggles greatly with keeping its workers safe. As OSHA said in its news release talking about Affordable Exteriors in Omaha, this is apparently the seventh time in 10 years that the company has been cited for failing to provide fall protection to roofers. In addition, according to the news release, the “company has failed to address previously issued OSHA citations and pay penalties.”
The construction company was last cited in December 2014 after a June investigation, according to this news release from OSHA, and not only fined $140,000, but also placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
In the most recent news release, an investigation by OSHA’s Omaha Area Office was done in October 2014 because of the Local Emphasis Program for falls. “Falls remain the leading cause of death in this industry,” according to the news release. “About half of America’s 1.6 million construction employees work in residential construction.”
During the investigation on a home being built in Elkhorn, “five employees were observed to be working more than 12 feet off the ground without adequate fall protection,” according to an article on WOWT.com out of Omaha. Proposed penalties are $75,240, based on two willful violations, one repeat violation, and three serious violations.
“OSHA cited two willful violations for exposing workers to fall hazards because the company failed to provide fall protection and train workers on the use of and requirement for fall protection equipment,” according to WOWT.com.
The repeat violation was “for not securing elevated platforms to the rough terrain forklift on the site.” Repeat violations occur if a company “was cited for a similar violation in the past five years.” Affordable Exteriors was cited in May 2013 at an Omaha job site for this violation, according to the WOWT.com article.
Finally, the serious violations were “exposing workers to falls from unprotected sides and edges, improper use of ladders and not training workers on ladder safety.”
The investigation prompted Bonita Winingham, OSHA’s area director in Omaha, to make the following comment via news release.
“With everything we know about how to work safely, it’s troubling to see how many workers are still injured every year in the construction trades, and particularly from falls,” Winingham said. “By refusing to correct these dangerous problems, Affordable Exteriors continues to expose employees to serious – and preventable – physical harm, and this is unacceptable.”