BOOTHWYN, Pa. -- The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited United States Roofing Corp. for a serious violation of its general duty clause related to exposing workers to heat hazards while they performed hot tar roofing operations at Chichester Middle School in Boothwyn. OSHA proposed a $7,000 fine, the maximum penalty permitted for a serious violation, after its July investigation. The investigation was opened in response to a referral from the Boothwyn Fire Department when three workers suffered from heat stress at the work site and were sent to the hospital.
The violation involves the company's failure to provide a program addressing heat-related hazards in the workplace. In this case, workers were outdoors in direct sunlight, under a peak heat index of 105 degrees, performing roofing work. Working with 425-degree roofing tar materials significantly increased their heat exposure. During that time, the employer did not provide a work-rest regimen, ensure adequate water consumption or train workers on recognizing the signs, symptoms and preventive measures of heat-related illnesses.
'Without a proper system in place that affords employees the necessary amounts of water, rest and shade, they can quickly and easily be overcome by heat illness,' said Domenick Salvatore, director of OSHA's Philadelphia office. 'It is vital that this company take the necessary steps to protect employees exposed to excessive heat to prevent future incidents.'
Information about OSHA's campaign to prevent heat-related illnesses among outdoor workers can be viewed at http://www.osha.gov/heat. OSHA also has a free application for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. It is available for download on Android-based platforms and the iPhone, at http://www.osha.gov/heatapp.
The roofing and siding company has 15 days from receipt of the citation and proposed penalty to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the finding 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 Philadelphia office at 215-597-4955.
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.