Construction deaths and injuries are rampant in Illinois. Falls from ladders and scaffolding, the most common cause of accidents on the job, are also the most preventable.
Recently, a roofing company was fined almost $50,000 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the agency that monitors and enforces safe working conditions for laborers at employment sites. It was determined that the company failed to meet appropriate minimum safety working conditions at an Illinois facility.
Following a complaint, an investigation was held by OSHA. When OSHA inspected Altorfer, Inc, a commercial sales and service company dealing in heavy construction equipment, it found it lacking.
Non-union roofing workers were observed working nearly 30-feet above ground in the absence of guardrails or safety nets. The inspection stated the roofing company incurred a willful safety violation along with "unacceptable" working conditions. The minimum working height requiring safeguards from falls is six feet.
Five Star Roofing has been cited once a year for the last five years for violations in Illinois, as well as two other neighboring states.
OSHA is currently in the midst of a campaign to promote safety and fall prevention, providing bilingual facts and figures on its web site, which includes information on common hazards on the job and how to prevent them. They are planning a "stand-down" day so that workers can take time to explore measures to avoid falls from scaffolding and ladders. The promotion is actively seeking feedback from employees.
More construction and labor contractors should participate in measures such as those currently being promoted by OSHA. Anyone employed at a site who is subjected to construction negligence deserves to be protected. An accident or work-related death can have far-reaching, life-long consequences. These workers deserve to seek information from a source who can help protect their labor rights under the law.
Source: US Department of Labor, "US Department of Labor's OSHA fines Five Star Commercial Roofing $49,000 for exposing workers to dangerous fall hazards in Bartonville, Ill." No author given, May. 01, 2014