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Region 5 News Release: 11-791-CHI
June 2, 2011
Contact: Scott Allen      Rhonda Burke
Phone: 312-353-6976      312-353-4807
Email: allen.scott@dol.gov      burke.rhonda@dol.gov

US Department of Labor's OSHA cites T & F Systems in Cleveland for
exposing workers to fall hazards; fines exceed $66,000

CLEVELAND – The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued T & F Systems Inc. of Cleveland three citations, including one involving a willful violation, for failing to provide roofers working on commercial projects with fall protection. The company faces penalties totaling $66,220.

The citations are the result of an OSHA investigation conducted in December 2010 at a jobsite in Cleveland. The citation for a willful violation, carrying $61,600 in penalties, was issued after inspectors observed employees working without fall protection on a commercial roof at a height of nearly 32 feet. A willful violation exists when an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the law or plain indifference to employee safety and health.

"Falls are a leading cause of injury and death in the construction industry," said Howard Eberts, OSHA's area director in Cleveland. "Employers are responsible for knowing what hazards exist in their workplaces and ensuring that workers are not exposed to risks that could result in injury or death."

OSHA also issued T & F Systems two citations for serious violations, with a proposed fine of $4,620, for failing to ensure that framed step ladders were used in the manner in which they were intended and to protect flexible electrical cords from damage. A serious violation occurs 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.

OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection, such as guardrails, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems, be in use when workers perform residential construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level. Detailed information on fall protection hazards and safeguards is available online at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html.

Prior to the inspection detailed above, T & F Systems had been issued citations by OSHA for fall related hazards on five occasions since 1998, including following a fatality at a jobsite in Cleveland in 2008 and a willful citation in 2010.

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.

Employers and employees with questions regarding workplace safety and health standards can call OSHA's Cleveland office at 216-615-4266. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

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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U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The information above is available in large print, Braille, audio tape or disc from the COAST office upon request by calling 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755.


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