Roofing contractor cited by US Department of Labor's OSHA for repeatedly
exposing workers to dangerous fall hazards
Last year, nearly 300 workers nationwide were fatally injured in construction-related falls
SAVOY, Ill. – Roofing contractor Juan Manuel Antonio-Martinez has been cited for three willful safety violations for exposing workers to fall hazards at two separate residential home sites in Savoy on March 26, 2014, and April 9, 2014. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed penalties of $85,800. This is the fifth time OSHA has cited the company for similar violations in the past three years. The company has not cooperated with OSHA during previous inspections, nor has it paid any portion of the $110,880 in total penalties assessed from those inspections.
"Antonio-Martinez failed to acknowledge OSHA's presence at the work site or address ways to abate hazards," said Thomas Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria. "Falls remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Allowing these types of hazards without fall protection is inexcusable. This employer's choice to ignore OSHA's common-sense safety regulations demonstrates a complete disregard for employee safety."
The job sites included a home under construction on Denton Drive and an existing home on Patriot Lane. In inspections at both home sites, an OSHA compliance officer observed employees working on residential roofs without fall protection. Failing to provide required fall protection is one of the most frequently cited OSHA standards. OSHA regulations require the use of a recommended means of fall protection, such as guardrail systems, safety nets, warning-line systems or personal fall arrest systems. Antonio-Martinez was cited for one willful violation at each location for failure to provide fall protection.
A third willful violation was cited when the inspector observed workers exiting the roof via an extension ladder that only extended 1 foot above the upper landing surface of the roof. OSHA regulations require that ladders extend 3 feet over the landing for safe access.
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.
The roofing contractor had been cited for similar violations in 2011, 2012 and 2013 at work sites in Paris, Champaign and Mahomet.
OSHA has created a Stop Falls Web page at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly 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.
OSHA's ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign, which was started in 2012, was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. 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 that equipment properly.
Antonio-Martinez has 15 business days from receipt of his 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 Peoria office at 309-589-7033.
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.
# # #
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).