OSHA fines Illinois masonry contractor for fall violations

ConDig (18-Sept-19).  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has fined an Illinois-based masonry contractor $252,136 for exposing employees to fall and scaffolding hazards on a commercial building project in Chicago.

The agency said that it cited Park Ridge-based Polo Masonry Builders Inc after inspectors found that the company failed to provide fall protection, install guardrail systems on platforms and provide safe access to scaffold work platforms. It also found that the company did not install rebar caps to protect employees from impalement hazards, document fall protection training and submit injury and illness logs.

OSHA has cited Polo Masonry Builders for fall protection violations 13 times since 2010.

“Employers are legally required to follow safety procedures on every jobsite to ensure that workers are protected from recognized workplace hazards,” said Loren Sweatt, principal deputy assistant secretary for OSHA. 

“Installing safe work platforms and training workers about working at elevation protects workers from fatal falls.”

The agency added that it had also placed the company in the severe violator enforcement program.

Polo Masonry Builders has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Commission. 

Last month, OSHA fined a Florida-based roofing contractor $274,215  for exposing employees to fall and other safety hazards at two Florida construction sites in Lutz and Palmetto.

The agency said that it cited Brad McDonald Roofing & Construction Inc. following inspections at both worksites that found employees improperly using fall protection while performing roofing activities. 

In July, OSHA fined a St Louis-based contractor $212,158 for exposing employees to trench engulfment hazards as they installed concrete storm water pipes on a project in St Louis, Missouri.

A 2016 Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released in December showed that the rate of fatal injuries in the construction industry increased 6% in 2016 to 991 worker deaths compared with 937 in 2015.

BLS figures showed that falls, struck by objects, electrocutions and caught-in/between accounted for 63.7% of all construction worker deaths in last year. There was a rise in total construction worker deaths for each of the “Fatal Four” in 2016.

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