The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a division of the US Department of Labor, has issued a citation to an Illinois contractor over findings it made willful and serious safety violations that exposed workers to significant fall risks. According to a news release by the agency, the contractor, KW Framing in Justice, Illinois, faces proposed penalties of $77,000.
OSHA’s findings state that when an OSHA safety inspector identified fall risks at the contractor’s worksite, the site supervisor said that “The show must go on” and instructed workers “to keep setting joists at heights up to 48 feet atop a multi-unit residential building in River Grove.” It was only when the contractor was notified of the lack of fall protection that it brought workers down from the roof. As the news release notes, federal data indicates that “1,008 construction workers died on the job in 2020, with 351 of those fatalities related to falls from elevation.”
The agency’s citation, which identified one willful safety violation and four serious safety violations, states that employees were working without fall conditions, that the site’s window openings did not have guardrails, that ladders were misused, and that workers were exposed to unprotected rebar. The willful violation states describes “employees performing masonry work [who] were exposed to fall hazards from the 4th story of the building.” Safety code requires the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems to protect employees on a surface with an unprotected side or edge at least six feet above a lower level.
In a statement about the violations, OSHA’s Chicago North Area Director said: “KW Framing ignored an OSHA compliance officer’s identification of hazards that could result in death, and company officials told the workers to continue while at risk of severe and possibly fatal fall injuries. Allowing employees to work at dangerous heights without providing fall protection equipment is inexcusable. OSHA will continue to hold employers accountable when they fail to provide safe working conditions.”
More information about OSHA’s findings that an Illinois framing contractor exposed its workers to fall hazards is available via the agency’s news release.
Contact our personal injury attorneys to discuss your case with our expert construction accident lawyer.