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OSHA: Wisconsin roofer exposed workers to falls (3/10)

March 10, 2011
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OSHA has issued Diaz Roofing Inc. of Madison four citations for failing to provide roofers working on commercial and residential projects with fall protection. The company faces penalties totaling $55,800.

The citations are the result of an OSHA investigation conducted in December 2010 at a jobsite in Madison. One willful citation carrying $30,800 in penalties was issued after inspectors observed employees working without fall protection on a steep-sloped commercial roof at a height greater than 6 feet.

"Falls are a leading cause of injury and death in the construction industry," said Kimberly Stille, OSHA's area director in Madison. "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 Diaz Roofing one repeat citation with a proposed fine of $19,800 for failing to provide protective eyewear to workers operating pneumatic nail guns.

Two serious citations were also issued for not utilizing a chute when employees performed the tear-off phase of the roofing process on a roof at a height greater than 20 feet and for failing to protect employees utilizing a boom lift from fall hazards. OSHA regulations require materials removed from a roof not be dropped or thrown to the ground but lowered to the ground via a covered, dust-tight chute, crane or hoist, or be carried or passed to the ground by hand. Those violations carry total penalties of $5,280.

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.

Prior to the inspection detailed above, Diaz Roofing had been inspected by OSHA five times since 2005, resulting in 14 prior citations. 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 Madison office at 608-441-5388. To report workplace incidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call the agency's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742).

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