Nov. 16, 2016
PROVIDENCE, R. I. – A Wolcott, Connecticut, contractor repeatedly exposed its employees to falls of 18 feet while performing roofing work in Middletown, an inspection by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found.
OSHA inspectors observed M&M Roofing employees working with inadequate fall protection atop a roof at 55 Rodgers Lane while driving by the address on May 4, 2016. Specifically, the employees were wearing safety harnesses but the harnesses were not connected to any anchor to prevent the workers from slipping or falling off the roof. The inspectors immediately opened an inspection and instructed the foreman to have the employees anchor their harnesses, which they did. When inspectors returned to the worksite on May 6, 2016, and May 12, 2016, they again found workers’ safety harnesses unattached to anchors to prevent them from falling.
“This employer exposed its employees deliberately to potentially deadly or disabling falls on multiple occasions, and has a history of fall-related violations at job sites in Connecticut. This is unacceptable,” said Patrick Griffin, OSHA’s Rhode Island area director. “Falls are the leading cause of death in construction work. That won’t change unless employers take seriously their responsibility to provide safe working conditions for their employees.”
Specifically, OSHA cited M&M Roofing for:
One willful violation for inadequate fall protection.
Three repeat violations for not training employees about fall hazards; ladders that did not extend at least 3 feet above the next level for required stability; and unguarded open holes in the roof. OSHA cited M&M Roofing in 2013 and 2014 for similar violations at work sites in Manchester and Watertown.
Two serious violations for inadequate ladder safety training for employees and lack of eye or face protection for employees working with pneumatic nail guns and a leaf blower used for cleaning debris.
The proposed fines for these violations total $185,194. The citations can be viewed here.
In 2014, there were 345 fatal falls to a lower level out of 899 total fatalities in construction nationally. These deaths are preventable. OSHA has an ongoing fall prevention campaign to educate and encourage employers to prevent falls by training workers to use safety equipment.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Providence office at 401-528-4669.
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.