Salem) – Oregon OSHA has fined a roofing and painting company in Portland $104,000 for six job safety violations, including repeatedly failing to follow the minimum requirements to protect workers from fall hazards that could kill them.
The division cited West Coast Roofing and Painting Inc. following an inspection. The inspection included an examination of work activity at a residential construction site in Portland, interviews of employees and a supervisor, and a review of the company’s recordkeeping practices.
Of the six violations Oregon OSHA cited the company for, five were repeat violations.
In one violation, the company failed to follow requirements to implement adequate fall protection systems – such as a personal fall arrest system – where workers are exposed to falling six feet or more to a lower level. The company left four employees in danger of potentially falling between approximately 11 feet and 22 feet.
The failure to comply with Oregon OSHA’s six-foot trigger-height requirements was a repeat violation by West Coast Roofing and Painting. In fact, it was the seventh such violation committed by the company since May 2018.
Under Oregon OSHA’s rules, penalties multiply when employers commit repeat offenses. In this case, the division cited West Coast Roofing and Painting $75,000 for not ensuring employees are protected from falling when working six feet or more above a lower level.
Oregon OSHA also cited the company for not ensuring that the side rails of a ladder extended at least three feet above an upper landing surface to which the ladder was used to gain access. It was the fourth violation of this rule since May 2018. Proposed penalty: $24,000.
Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry.
“There is absolutely no good reason to violate clear and time-tested fall protection standards that we know are effective at protecting employees against fall hazards,” said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA. “To repeatedly fail at implementing those standards serves just one purpose: to increase the risk to workers of serious injury or death.”
The other repeat violations were the following:
- The employer did not ensure that employees who operated or were in close proximity to an employee operating a staple gun used proper eye protection. This was the third violation since June 2019. Proposed penalty: $1,400.
- The employer did not verify in writing that employees were trained in fall protection systems. This was the fourth violation since May 2018. Proposed penalty: $1,000.
- The employer did not maintain proper injury and illness documents for 2019. This was the second violation. Proposed penalty: $200.
The citation also included a serious violation for not properly installing personal fall arrest system anchors. Specifically, the anchors were secured by an insufficient number of fasteners according to the manufacturer’s installation requirements. The proposed penalty is $2,400. This violation was complied with at the time of the inspection.
The citation issued against West Coast Roofing and Painting reflects appropriate penalty reductions based on the small size of the company, as well as upward adjustments based on the repeat violations.
In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers resources to help improve workplace safety and health. These resources include the division’s Fall Protection Suite of online video training and its A-to-Z topic page about fall protection.