Salem – In separate enforcement actions, Oregon OSHA has issued fines totaling more than $144,000 to two contractors for violations – including repeat offenses – of fall protection rules at worksites in Salem and Woodburn. The violations put multiple workers at risk of serious injury or death from falls to lower levels.
The separate citations issued to Corvallis-based Iron Head Roofing LLC and Canby-based JMJ Construction LLC included the same violation of a basic safety requirement: Implementing adequate fall protection systems – such as a personal fall restraint system or other measures – where workers are exposed to falling six feet or more to a lower level.
For Iron Head Roofing, it was the fifth time since May 2019 that the company committed the same violation. For JMJ Construction, it was the fourth time since February 2020 that the company committed the same violation. The companies’ previous violations of the six-foot trigger-height requirements were cited as part of separate Oregon OSHA inspections at different worksites.
Falls are one of the leading causes of death in the construction industry.
“Fall protection saves lives,” said Renee Stapleton, acting administrator for Oregon OSHA. “It is an essential safety practice that employers must carry out when work is being done at heights. There is no excuse for neglecting it.”
The citation issued to Iron Head Roofing followed an inspection that found four of six employees working on the roof of a house in Salem with no fall protection. The citation against JMJ Construction came after an inspection found an employee installing siding on a house with no fall protection. Another employee was using a scaffold with no fall protection, according to the inspection.
Both inspections were conducted under Oregon OSHA’s emphasis program focused on fall hazards in construction. The prevention-based program accounts for the temporary nature of construction activity by directing inspectors to act based on observations while in the field, and to follow up on valid complaints and referrals.
Altogether, Oregon OSHA issued $144,900 in fines to both companies. The division’s citation to Iron Head Roofing involved a single repeat violation carrying a total proposed penalty of $78,000. The citation to JMJ Construction, which involved several violations, carried a total proposed penalty of $66,900. The violations were as follows:
Iron Head Roofing
- Fall protection systems were not in place where employees were exposed to a hazard of falling six feet or more to a lower level. It was a fifth repeat violation of the rule. Proposed penalty: $78,000.
- Fall protection systems were not in place where employees were exposed to a hazard of falling six feet or more to a lower level. It was a fourth repeat violation of the rule. Proposed penalty: $58,500.
- A portable ladder did not extend at least three feet above an upper landing. It was the first repeat violation of the rule. Proposed penalty: $4,500.
- No personal fall arrest systems or guardrail systems were put in place while a scaffold was in use. Proposed penalty: $3,900.
Under Oregon OSHA rules, penalties multiply when employers commit repeat violations. Each of the citations issued to Iron Head Roofing and JMJ Construction also included a standard penalty reduction based on the small size of the company.
Employers have 30 calendar days after receiving a citation to file an appeal.
In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers free 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.
The Fall Protection Suite includes courses addressing fall protection fundamentals, and construction, roofing, and ladder safety. The A-to-Z topic page about fall protection includes a fact sheet about fall protection trigger heights for construction activities.
Employers are encouraged to use free resources – available now from Oregon OSHA and involving no fault, no citations, and no penalties – for help protecting their employees:
Consultation services – Provides free and confidential help with safety and health programs, including how to control and eliminate hazards, and hands-on training
Technical staff – Helps employers understand requirements and how to apply them to their worksites