OSHA cites Affordable Exteriors for 7th time in 10 years for
failing to provide fall protection to roofers. The company has failed to address previously issued OSHA citations and pay penalties.
Employer name: Affordable Exteriors Inc., 17118 Harney Street, Omaha, Nebraska
Investigation site: 20505 Taylor Street, Elkhorn, Nebraska
Date investigation initiated and what prompted inspection: On Oct. 1, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Omaha Area Office initiated an inspection under the Local Emphasis Program for falls.
In 2013, there were 294 fall fatalities of the 796 total fatalities in the construction industry. Falls remain the leading cause of death in this industry. About half of America’s 1.6 million construction employees work in residential construction.
Investigation findings: OSHA’s investigation found three employees installing rafters, and two installing roof sheathing, on a residential home under construction in Elkhorn.
All five employees were observed to be working more than 12 feet off the ground without adequate fall protection.
• OSHA cited two willful violations for exposing workers to fall hazards because the company failed to provide fall protection and train workers on the use of and requirement for fall protection equipment.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or plain indifference to employee safety and health.
• One repeated violation was issued for not securing elevated platforms to the rough terrain forklift on the site. The company was previously cited for this violation in May 2013 at a job site in Omaha. OSHA issues repeated violations if an employer was cited for a similar violation in the past five years.
• Three serious violations involved exposing workers to falls from unprotected sides and edges, improper use of ladders and not training workers on ladder safety. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm can result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exist.
Proposed Penalties: $75,240
Quote: “With everything we know about how to work safely, it’s troubling to see how many workers are still injured every year in the construction trades, and particularly from falls,” said Bonita Winingham, OSHA’s area director in Omaha. “By refusing to correct these dangerous problems, Affordable Exteriors continues to expose employees to serious – and preventable – physical harm, and this is unacceptable.”
OSHA maintains a Web page with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards.
The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures. OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection be in use when workers perform construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level.
OSHA’s ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign provides employers with lifesaving information and educational materials on how to create a plan to prevent falls, provide the right equipment for workers and train employees to use that equipment properly. The campaign launched in 2012. It was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda program.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Omaha Area Office at 402-553-0171.