April 6, 2015
Workers risk 7-story fall while roofing Des Plaines, Illinois, condo building
Armor Shield Construction violates fall protection standards for the 6th time since 2004
DES PLAINES, Ill. – A construction crew installing roofing and heating and air-conditioning units on a seven-story Des Plaines condominium could have fallen because their employer did not provide protection required by the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This was the sixth time since 2004 that Armor Shield Construction was found exposing workers to fall hazards. In 2010, OSHA placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
The most recent OSHA inspection came after investigators saw workers without fall protection at the Des Plaines site on Oct. 30, 2014. As a result, Armor Shield was cited for three repeated and two serious safety violations and faces penalties of $72,380.
"Armor Shield needs to make immediate changes to its safety program. No worker should ever be subject to fall hazards when basic safety equipment can prevent tragedies," said Angeline Loftus, OSHA's area director for the Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines. "Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Hundreds of workers die each year and thousands more suffer catastrophic, debilitating injuries. Yet, lack of proper fall protection remains the most frequently cited violation by OSHA. We need to change that culture in the construction industry."
Two serious violations were issued for failing to protect workers from falling through nine unprotected skylights on the roof and misuse of ladders. An OSHA violation is serious when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
As well, Armor Shield received three citations for repeated violations by exposing workers to fall hazards while working on top of a seven story building. OSHA issues repeated violations if an employer was previously cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.
To help reduce the potential for falls in the construction industry, OSHA and its partners encourage workers and employers to participate in this year's National Safety Stand-Down, which will be held May 4-15. The newly launched National Safety Stand-Down 2015 website provides details on how to conduct a stand-down; receive a certificate of participation; and access free education and training resources, fact sheets and other outreach materials in English and Spanish. It will also include a list of free stand-down events open to the public.
Based in Lombard, Armor Shield 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 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 Des Plaines Area Office 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: 15-467-CHI
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