The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has completed its investigation into reoccurring violations related to fall hazards by Illinois contractor Emerald Inc. OSHA first noticed safety issues during a February 15, 2022 inspection of a worksite in North Barrington, Illinois. Not only did the company expose its workers to deadly fall hazards, but it also failed to train its workers in numerous areas.
The OSHA investigation found that the “company exposed workers to deadly fall hazards as they worked at heights of up to 13 feet above the ground without adequate fall protection and a lack of guardrails on ramps.” Following the investigation, OSHA issued multiple citations. OSHA found the following regulations were violated:
- 29 CFR 1926.502(b)(14): Ramps and runways were not equipped with a guardrail system along each unprotected side or edge.
- 29 CFR 1926.102(a)(1): Employees were not provided with eye and face protection equipment when machines or operations present potential eye or face injury from physical, chemical, or radiation agents: The employer does not protect each employee engaged in framing work by requiring the employee to wear eye and face protection while operating pneumatic framing guns and circular saws.
- 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(13): Each employee(s) engaged in residential construction activities 6 feet (1.8 m) or more above lower levels were not protected by guardrail systems, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system, nor were employee(s) provided with an alternative fall protection measure under another provision of paragraph 1926.501 (b): The employer does not protect each employee from fall hazards while engaged in framing work on a floor deck with an unprotected side or edge, which is approximately 13.5 feet above a lower level by the use of guardrail system, safety net system, or personal fall arrest system.
- 29 CFR 1926.602(d): Note: The requirements applicable to construction work under paragraph (d) of this section are identical to those set forth at paragraph (l) of 29 CFR 1910.178: 29 CFR 1910.178(l)(1)(i): The employer did not ensure that each powered industrial truck operator was competent to operate a powered industrial truck safely, as demonstrated by the successful completion of the training and evaluation specified in this paragraph (l): The employer does not provide training and evaluate employees operating the Terex TH844C Turbo all terrain forklift.
- 29 CFR 1926.100(a): Employees were not protected by protective helmets while working in areas where there was a possible danger of head injury from impact, or from falling or flying objects, or from electrical shock and burns: The employer does not protect each employee engaged in framing work by requiring the employees to wear hard hats where there is a possible danger of head injury from falling objects.
- 29 CFR 1926.1053(b)(1): Portable ladders were used for access to an upper landing surface and the ladder side rails did not extend at least 3 feet (.9 m) above the upper landing surface to which the ladder was used to gain access: The employer does not protect each employee from hazards of falling and allows them to use a portable ladder without its side rails extended at least 3 feet above the upper landing surface for access and egress.
OSHA has proposed penalties totaling $303,105.00. The company had previously been cited for violating many of the same sections.
Workers face risks and hazards that must be planned for before work begins. It goes without saying that safe companies must have adequate policies and procedures to protect their workers. It is not just workers who are at risk, but also members of the public or employees of other companies. Of course, adequate training of workers is also required. Here, the construction company has been cited on multiple occasions by OSHA.
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