Enforcement and Inspection, Personnel Safety

OSHA Cites Contractors for Fall Hazards

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited a masonry and stucco contractor in Fort Worth, Texas, and a roofer in Orwell, Ohio, for exposing employees to fall hazards; the agency proposed six-figure penalties for each employer.

OSHA September 17 cited RM Masonry and Stucco Inc. of Fort Worth for exposing workers to fall and silica hazards after having cited the company for similar violations in 2018 and 2019. The agency cited the company for nine repeat and six serious violations, including failing to ensure that scaffolding was properly planked and secured, provide a ladder for safe egress, and inspect scaffolding. OSHA is seeking penalties totaling $216,265.

On September 20, the agency cited Neal Weaver, owner of Grand Valley Carpentry LLC of Orwell, with willful, serious violations of the eye protection and fall protection standards and is seeking a proposed $253,556 in penalties.

In the past, Weaver has not cooperated with federal safety inspectors, according to OSHA, and has exposed workers to deadly fall hazards for the sixth time in five years, operating his roofing business under Grand Valley Carpentry and a previous company name, Dutch Heritage LLC.

 “Fall hazards make roofing work among the most dangerous jobs in construction,” Cleveland Area Director Howard Eberts said in a statement.

“Too often OSHA inspectors find employees working on residential roofs without fall protection and discover their employer has the safety equipment on-site and refuses to ensure its use,” Eberts continued. “Employers must ensure that employees working from heights greater than 6 feet are provided fall protection equipment, and that they train workers to use the equipment safely.”

OSHA cited Dutch Heritage for similar hazards in December 2016, August 2018, September 2018, November 2019, and December 2019. Weaver has not responded to the citations, provided proof of abatement, or paid penalties, according to the agency. OSHA has referred his unpaid penalties to debt collection. In December 2019, Weaver changed his company name to Grand Valley Carpentry. 

On April 20, agency inspectors observed Weaver and an employee working without fall protection on a residential roof nearly 20 feet off the ground.

OSHA’s Fort Worth area office inspected an RM Masonry and Stucco worksite in Denton, Texas, as part of a regional emphasis program (REP) for falls in the construction industry.

“RM Masonry and Stucco has shown repeated disregard for worker safety,” Fort Worth Area Director Timothy Minor said in an agency statement. “OSHA will do everything in its power to protect workers and hold serial violators like this accountable.”

OSHA’s construction industry fall protection standard (29 CFR §1926.501) is the agency’s most frequently cited standard, cited 5,424 times in fiscal year (FY) 2020. Its scaffolding standard (§1926.451) is the agency’s fourth most frequently cited standard, cited 2,538 times in FY 2020.

Falls from height remain a serious construction hazard and are part of the “fatal four,” along with caught-in/-between, electrocution, and struck-by hazards. Bureau of Labor Statistics data for 2019 found that 401 of 1,061 reported construction worker deaths resulted from a fall from elevation.

OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and industry partners held their eighth annual weeklong National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction May 3–7.