Enforcement and Inspection

Pennsylvania Roofing Contractor Handed Six-Figure OSHA Fine

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited a Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania-based roofing contractor with eight willful, three serious, and two repeat safety violations for exposing employees to fall hazards at three separate worksites in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, area. OSHA is seeking $605,371 in penalties from Webb Contractor Corp.

Roofer, roofing

brizmaker / Shutterstock.com

“Employers must ensure that employees working from heights are provided and wear proper fall protection,” Loren Sweatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, said in an agency statement.

The agency initiated an inspection on September 6, 2019, after an OSHA compliance officer observed employees performing residential roofing work without fall protection at a worksite in Macungie, Pennsylvania. OSHA later responded to complaints of fall hazards, initiating two additional inspections on October 1, 2019, at a worksite in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, and another on October 11, 2019, at a worksite in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

OSHA proposed $219,249 in penalties for one serious, three willful, and one repeat violation at the Macungie site. Citations included a serious violation of the housekeeping standard for demolished roofing materials piled in a manner that did not allow employees a clear path of travel. The agency cited Webb Contractor for willful violations of the eye and face protection, fall protection, and ladders standards. OSHA cited Webb for a repeat violation of the head protection standard. The agency previously cited the employer for violation of the same standard at a Paupack, Pennsylvania, worksite.

OSHA proposed $136,128 in penalties for one serious and two willful violations at the Emmaus worksite. The agency cited Webb with a serious violation of general electrical safety requirements and willful violations of the fall protection and ladders standards.

OSHA proposed $249,994 in penalties for one serious, three willful, and one repeat violation at the Bethlehem worksite. The agency cited a serious violation of the ladders standard. OSHA also cited Webb for willful violations of the eye and face protection, fall protection, and portable ladders standards. The agency also cited the employer for a repeat violation of the portable ladders standard for using a damaged extension ladder. OSHA previously cited Webb for a violation of the same standard at Breinigsville and Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, worksites.

Weighted Enforcement Actions

Four of OSHA’s 10 most frequently cited standards—fall protection, scaffolds, ladders, and fall protection training—involve fall hazards. Falls and struck-by, caught-in, and electrocution hazards are what the agency refers to as its “Focus Four” hazards. OSHA began prioritizing inspections for Focus Four hazards under its new OSHA Weighting System (OWS), beginning with fiscal year (FY) 2020.

While all inspections receive at least 1 Enforcement Unit (EU), inspections for the Focus Four hazards receive 3 EUs.

OSHA continues to hand out six-figure and even million-dollar penalties for violations of fall protection standards. However, the consequences may extend beyond OSHA civil penalties. A Maine roofing contractor may be facing a 30-year prison sentence if convicted under that state’s workplace manslaughter law.