OSHA fines Arcola company over Savoy work site

OSHA fines Arcola company over Savoy work site

An Arcola construction company has been cited for not following federal safety standards, following a visit by inspectors to a project site in Savoy.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration filed citations against Miller Building Systems for two willful safety violations for exposing workers to fall and overhead hazards during a residential roofing job. The agency has proposed penalties of $55,000.

"Miller Building Systems has a significant history of violations and has shown consistent reluctance to enforce basic safety standards to protect workers from falls," said Thomas Bielema, OSHA's area director in Peoria, in a release about the violations.

This is the fifth time the agency has cited Miller for similar violations in five years, according to OSHA.

The agency said an OSHA inspector observed two employees applying sheathing at the home on April 9 and at that time workers did not have the recommended fall protection, such as guardrail systems, safety nets, warning-line systems or personal fall arrest systems. Also, an employee working on the ground did not have adequate head protection yet was exposed to overhead hazards from the roofers, according to OSHA.

Both are considered willful violations, acts committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health, according to OSHA.

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.

A message left for Miller Building Systems Tuesday morning was not immediately returned.

"Falls remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and lack of fall protection is the most frequently cited OSHA standard," Bielma said.

Last year, nearly 300 workers nationwide were fatally injured in construction-related falls, the agency said.

OSHA launched a fall-prevention campaign in 2012 and established the Stop Falls web page at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls, which provides information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. Standards require companies to provide an effective form of fall protection when workers perform construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level, according to the agency.

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