OSHA cites Sycamore construction company

Published: Monday, Dec. 23, 2013 1:47 p.m.CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013 10:42 p.m.CDT

SYCAMORE – A Sycamore construction company could be fined more than $100,000 for not properly protecting workers against falls as required by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, OSHA officials said today.

OSHA officials inspected a job site for Tip Top Roofing and Construction, 2030 Coltonville Road in Sycamore, on June 20, according to a news release.

Workers were installing asphalt shingles on a residential roof at heights of 10 feet to 18 feet without fall protection in the 400 block of South 10th Street in DeKalb, the release states.

The owner of Tip Top Roofing and Construction, 2030 Coltonville Road in Sycamore, did not return calls for comment.

Tip Top Roofing has been inspected five times, cited for similar violations and cited for failing to provide evidence that problems have been corrected, the release states.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations, issued Dec. 16, to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The penalties proposed could be lowered or even dismissed, pending the outcome of any contest, said Rhonda Burke, deputy director for public affairs for the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Penalties are always proposed until the final order is issued, after the business owner has the opportunity to contest the citations or show abatement documentation,” Burke said.

Two violations, listed as serious and carrying a proposed penalty of $5,500 each, involve not maintaining programs to ensure worker safety and not providing job site inspections.

A third violation, called willful by OSHA, carries a $70,000 proposed penalty. According to the 13-page citation, this violation is regarding inadequate protection for works in the form of guardrails, safety nets or fall arrest systems for construction workers at a height of more than 6 feet. The citation notes that the company was cited for the same thing in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2013.

The final violation listed on the citation is classified as repeat and carries a proposed penalty of $22,000.

This violation notes that portable ladders must extend at least three feet above the upper landing surface being accessed.

Tip Top Roofing was cited for this violation in 2009 and 2013.

Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and OSHA requires that companies implement safeguards, creating a culture of safety.

According to the OSHA website, 774 construction fatalities were reported in 2010; 264 fatalities were because of falls.

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