April 13, 2015
Contractor exposes roofing workers to serious falls, respiratory hazards
atop Housing Authority of Cook County building in Des Plaines, Illinois
OSHA cites C.I.C. Corp. for 1 willful, 5 serious violations and penalties of $73,290
DES PLAINES, Ill. – Each day, somewhere in this country, construction workers fall. One wrong step can send them tumbling down a steeply pitched roof, sliding or dropping off an unstable ladder, or left hanging fearfully from a scaffold. In these cases, one thing stands between them and tragedy: fall protection.
On a job site in Des Plaines, tragedy was averted for a nine-person crew. They were observed working without fall protection because their employer, C.I.C. Corp., failed to require its use despite its availability. U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors intervened and cited the company for one willful and five serious safety and health violations for exposing workers to falls and serious health hazards. OSHA has proposed fines of $73,290.
"Roofing contractors like C.I.C. must provide fall protection and ensure that workers use it. It is disheartening that this contractor, which was cited for the same safety violations in 2011 and 2013, allowed life-saving equipment to sit unused at a job site where, in just seconds, a worker could fall and suffer critical injuries," 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 continues to be the most frequently cited violation by OSHA."
Inspectors saw the crew working without fall protection on a low-slope roof atop a building operated by the Housing Authority of Cook County, which resulted in the willful violation. OSHA also determined C.I.C. Corp. failed to train workers in fall-hazard awareness. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
OSHA's investigation also revealed that C.I.C. workers were exposed to isocyanates, and they were not required to use proper personal protective equipment, such as hand and eye protection. Employees were also not trained in the health hazards of these chemicals. Found in insulation, surface coatings, adhesives and other products, isocyanates are a skin and respiratory sensitizer and the leading cause of work-induced asthma.
In total, five serious violations were noted. An OSHA violation is serious when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could occur due to a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
To educate construction workers and employers about how to recognize fall hazards and reduce their risks, OSHA and its partners encourage all employees and employers who face workplace fall hazards to participate in this year's National Fall Safety Stand-Down from May 4-15.
The newly launched National Safety Stand-Down website for 2015 provides details on how to:
- Conduct a Stand-Down event for your company.
- Obtain a certificate of participation.
- Access free education and training resources, fact sheets and outreach materials in English and Spanish. Find free Stand-Down events open to the public.
The National Stand-Down initiative was launched three years ago with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda and The Center for Construction Research and Training. Additional partners for this year's event include the American Society for Safety Engineers; National Safety Council; National Construction Safety Executives; the U.S. Air Force; OSHA-approved state plans; state consultation programs; and OSHA Training Institute Education Centers.
Based in Wauconda, C.I.C. Corp. is a roofing, siding and sheet-metal company that employs about 12 full-time employees. 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.
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.
# # #
Release Number: 15-493-CHI
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).