OMAHA, Neb. -- Four employees of Affordable Exteriors Inc. were routinely exposed to dangerous fall hazards while completing a residential roofing job for homebuilder Hildy Homes in Elkhorn. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Affordable Exteriors for two willful violations, carrying proposed penalties of $140,000, for failure to provide required fall protection and fall protection training. The Omaha-based company has a lengthy history of violating OSHA standards. As a result of this incident, Affordable Exteriors has been placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
'Affordable Exteriors clearly hasn't made worker safety a priority. It has consistently broken the law by failing to provide fall protection to those employees working on roofs,' said Marcia Drumm, OSHA's acting regional administrator in Kansas City, Missouri. 'Since 2005, the company repeatedly refused to protect employees and provide proof that it fixed hazards found during OSHA inspections.'
OSHA observed workers framing new residential units at heights of 9 to 18 feet on a steep section of roof without required fall protection. The work occurred on a home in the 3900 block of North 191st Street in Elkhorn. Two willful citations were cited for failure to provide basic safety equipment, such as guardrails, safety nets, warning-line systems or personal fall arrest systems. OSHA also found that the workers had inadequate training in fall safety.
OSHA cited the company five times in the past 10 years for exposing workers to fall hazards. Affordable Exteriors repeatedly failed to correct safety deficiencies. The company also failed to pay penalties assessed from previous violations, which exceed $51,000. Additionally, Affordable Exteriors owner Rich Tiller failed to provide information requested during the June 17, 2014, inspection and only complied after OSHA initiated subpoena enforcement action.
A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health.
To view the current citations see http://www.dol.gov/osha/pdf/Affordable_Exteriors_Inc_981026_1124_14.pdf*
OSHA has created 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 also has an ongoing Fall Prevention Campaign that 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, was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program.
Affordable Exteriors employs nine workers. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
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.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA's role is to ensure these conditions for America's working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.