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April 18, 2016

Elgin roofing contractor continues to risk workers' safety
OSHA asks all employers to commit to fall safety in annual campaign

ELGIN, Ill. - Despite the fact that preventable falls account for nearly 40 percent* of all deaths in the construction industry, some employers continue to ignore the dangers and put their workers at serious risk.

FALLS are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Illustration showing fall fatalities per year: 255 in 2010, 255 in 2011, 279 in 2012, 291 in 2013, and 337 in 2014.

As the construction industry continues to grow, falls continue to be the leading cause of death. Source:

Roofing contractor Apex Exteriors Inc. is the latest area employer to face federal fines. U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors saw four Apex workers without required fall protection installing shingles at a home construction project in Clarendon Hills on Jan. 4, 2016.

They responded by issuing one willful, one repeated and one serious safety citation on April 13. Investigators found workers at risk of falls over 25 feet, fall anchor points not installed per the manufacturer's specification to support 5,000 pounds and ladders that did not extend at least three feet above the upper landing surface.

The Elgin-based construction company faces proposed penalties of $57,950.

"One false step can be debilitating or fatal to a worker without fall protection," said Jake Scott, OSHA's area director in North Aurora. "OSHA's annual National Safety Stand-Down from May 2-6 is intended to help employers, unions and workers nationwide to re-commit to understand and using fall safety protection to avoid tragedy. We encourage Apex Exteriors and other employers like them to join this safety campaign and to change the way they work for the benefit of their employees."

This is the seventh time since 2010 that OSHA has cited Apex for fall violations at its work sites. Inspectors found violations in 2015 in Indian Head Park, in 2013 in Arlington Heights and Geneva, in 2011 in Libertyville and in 2010 in Des Plaines and Evanston.

View current citations*.

Federal safety and health officials are determined to reduce the numbers of preventable, fall-related 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.

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.

Apex Exteriors 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 Aurora office at 630-896-8700.

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

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Media Contacts:

Scott Allen, 312-353-6976,
Rhonda Burke, 312-353-6976,

Release Number: 16-740-CHI

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