OSHA Cites Contractors for Fall Hazards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently named a masonry and stucco contractor in Fort Worth, Texas, and a roofer in Orwell, Ohio, for exposing workers to fall risks; the agency proposed six-figure fines for each employer.

OSHA September 17 quoted RM Masonry and Stucco Inc. of Fort Worth for exposing employees to fall and silica hazards after citing the company for similar violations in 2018 and 2019. The agency cited the company for nine repeated and six serious violations, including failing to ensure scaffolding was properly planked and secured, provide a ladder for safe exit and inspect scaffolding. OSHA is demanding fines totaling $216,265.

On September 20, the agency quoted: Neal Weaver, owner of Grand Valley Carpentry LLC of Orwell, for intentional, serious violations of eye protection and fall protection standards and is seeking a proposed fine of $253,556.

In the past, according to OSHA, Weaver has not worked with federal safety inspectors and has exposed workers to fatal fall risks for the sixth time in five years, operating his roofing business under Grand Valley Carpentry and a previous company name, Dutch Heritage LLC.

“The danger of falling makes roofing one of the most dangerous jobs in construction,” Cleveland Area director Howard Eberts said in a statement.

“Too often, OSHA inspectors find workers working on home roofs without fall protection and discover that their employer has the safety equipment on site and refuses to guarantee its use,” Eberts continued. “Employers must ensure that employees working from heights of more than 6 feet are provided with fall protection equipment and that they train employees to use the equipment safely.”

OSHA cited Dutch Heritage for similar hazards in December 2016, August 2018, September 2018, November 2019 and December 2019. Weaver has not responded to the citations, has provided no evidence of reduction or paid fines, the agency said. OSHA has referred its unpaid fines to debt collection. In December 2019, Weaver changed his company name to Grand Valley Carpentry.

On April 20, inspectors from the agency saw Weaver and an employee working without fall protection on a residential roof nearly 20 feet above the ground.

OSHA’s Fort Worth office inspected an RM Masonry and Stucco workshop in Denton, Texas, as part of a Regional Emphasis Program (REP) for falls into the construction industry.

“RM Masonry and Stucco has repeatedly shown disregard for worker safety,” Fort Worth Area director Timothy Minor said in a statement from the agency. “OSHA will do everything it can to protect workers and hold serial offenders like this accountable.”

OSHA’s Construction Industry Fall Protection Standard (29 CFR §1926.501) is the agency’s most cited standard, cited 5,424 times in fiscal year (FY) 2020. The Scaffolding Standard (§1926.451) is the agency’s fourth most cited standard, cited 2,538 times in fiscal year 2020.

Falls from heights remain a serious construction hazard and are part of the ‘fatal four’, along with the hazards falling in/between, electrocution and collisions. Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2019 showed that 401 of the 1,061 reported deaths by construction workers resulted from a fall from height.

OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and industry partners held their eighth annual national stand-down from May 3-7 to prevent construction falls.

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