The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) on August 1 announced $249,323 in proposed penalties for Premier South Roofing LLC, a roofing contractor based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following two inspections, including one after a worker’s fatal fall through a skylight.
On February 2, 2022, an OSHA inspector, who initiated an inspection as part of the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program for Construction, observed five Premier South employees working on a roof without adequate fall protection.
Agency inspectors determined that Premier South Roofing LLC also exposed six employees to fall hazards at a separate site on April 2, 2022, by failing to ensure required fall protection was used. Workers were repairing and replacing a roof when one of the roofers lost their footing, stepped on, and fell about 30 feet through a skylight. The worker later succumbed to injuries sustained in the fall.
“Falls continue to be the leading cause of deaths in the construction industry and yet, employers like Premier South Roofing LLC repeatedly failed to protect their workers from the risk of disabling injuries or worse,” OSHA’s Baton Rouge, Louisiana Area Director Roderic Chube said in an agency statement.
“Ensuring that workers are trained on and use proper fall protection, as required by law, can prevent tragedies such as this from recurring.”
Premier South Roofing LLC has about 200 employees providing residential and commercial roofing services in Baton Rouge, Lafayette, North Shore, and other areas of Louisiana, according to OSHA.
The agency cited the company for two repeat violations for failing to provide fall protection and verify employee training. OSHA’s construction industry fall protection standard (29 CFR §1926.501) is the agency’s most frequently cited standard, cited 5,295 times in fiscal year (FY) 2021, and the fall protection training standard (§1926.503) is OSHA’s seventh most frequently cited standard, cited 1,666 times in FY 2021.
Premier South’s citations were not the only six-figure penalties announced by the agency on August 1.
Ohio Manufacturer Faces New $480K Penalty
OSHA reported finding workers at General Aluminum Mfg. Co.’s Wapakoneta, Ohio, facility exposed to machine hazards, 36 days after agency inspectors found similar violations at the aluminum vehicle parts manufacturer’s facility in Conneaut, Ohio. OSHA cited General Aluminum with one repeat, two willful, and 10 serious violations at the Wapakoneta plant for exposing workers to fall hazards while working on top of casting machines, burn hazards due to water accumulation around casting machines, and using improper personal protective equipment. Inspectors found worker exposures to electrical and arc flashes, confined space, and powered industrial truck hazards. OSHA proposed $480,240 in penalties.
OSHA opened an inspection at the Conneaut facility on January 3, 2022, and at the Wapakoneta facility on February 8, both under the agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). Following an inspection of the Conneaut facility, OSHA cited the company for eight violations and proposed $315,952 in penalties.
The agency placed the company in its SVEP after a worker at the company’s Ravenna, Ohio, plant suffered fatal injuries in March 2021. Following its investigation of the fatality at the Ravenna facility, OSHA cited the company for 38 violations with $1,671,738 in proposed penalties.
“General Aluminum’s continued failure to protect its workers is a prime example of why OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program allows the agency to inspect any facility operated by a company cited for exposing workers to egregious hazards,” OSHA’s Chicago Regional Administrator William Donovan said in an agency statement.
“This company repeatedly ignored OSHA and a third-party auditor’s recommendations to improve safety procedures and training, and immediately comply with industry and federal safety standards to demonstrate a commitment to protect workers.”
OSHA has had a long history of enforcement issues with General Aluminum. The company signed formal settlement agreements with the agency to resolve citations for machine guarding and lockout/tagout violations found during inspections conducted between 2015 and 2017. The company hired a third-party consultant to conduct comprehensive machine guarding and lockout/tagout audits between 2017 and 2019, according to OSHA. The audits identified specific machine guarding and lockout/tagout program deficiencies and provided recommendations, but the company failed to fully implement the consultant’s recommendations.