January 12, 2017
Masonry contractor continues to expose workers to fall hazards
OSHA inspector observes workers atop 4-story building without fall protection
CHICAGO, Ill. - Federal safety inspectors saw seven employees of a Park Ridge contractor performing masonry work on a Chicago building at heights up to 40 feet without adequate fall protection and have issued citations to the company. The company committed similar violations in 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued Polo Masonry Builders Inc. two repeated and eight serious safety and health violations after inspectors observed the workers on Sept. 16, 2016, atop a four-story building. The company faces $77,606 in proposed penalties.
"No employee should ever be working at heights over 6 feet without adequate fall protection," said Angeline Loftus, OSHA's area director at its Chicago North office in Des Plaines. "Workers can easily be protected from falls by the use of harnesses and other fall protection devices. Employers must remember that falls are the leading cause of death among construction industry workers."
As the construction industry continues to grow, falls continue to be the leading cause of death. Source: http://www.bls.gov
Inspectors also found the company exposed workers to:
- Fall hazards through unprotected floor holes and wall openings, lack of stair rails and from scaffold platforms that were not supported by outriggers and bracing.
- Impalement hazards from unprotected rebar.
- Unguarded belt and pulley drive of a mortar mixer.
- Chemical hazards by failing to provide hand and eye protection.
Federal safety and health officials are determined to reduce preventable, fall-related deaths - the leading cause among construction industry workers. Falls account for nearly 40 percent of all deaths in the construction industry. OSHA offers a Stop Falls online resource with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page provides fact sheets, posters and videos that illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures. OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection be in use when workers perform construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level and 10 feet or more on scaffolding.
The ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. Begun in 2012, the campaign provides employers with lifesaving information and educational materials on how to prevent falls, provide the right equipment for workers and train employees to use gear properly.
Polo Masonry Builders 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.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines at 847-803-4800.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.
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Release Number: 16-2394-CHI
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