A roofer will pay a punishment of about $300,000 after federal officials claimed that the business put its employees in danger of fatal falls at construction sites in the Chicago area, including Lake County. Araujo Construction Corp is facing potential fines of $277,584 from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the U.S. Department of Labor.
The proposed fines are the result of OSHA inspectors finding three instances over the course of four months where the workers of the roofing contractor were exposed to “deadly fall hazards.” The incidents took place at construction sites in Wheeling and Lake Zurich.
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OSHA said in a statement that in each case, the company’s foremen at the construction site neglected to protect workers as they carried out residential framing work on newly constructed homes. On May 5, August 22, and September 14 of this year, workplace safety inspectors found six major violations, four repeat violations, and two intentional violations.
OSHA warned company representatives and a foreman at the Lake Zurich location that they were breaking the law by permitting workers to work at heights of more than 30 feet without fall protection during the inspection on May 5. On August 22, inspectors visited Lake Zurich once more and discovered that the company’s employees were once more at risk of falling, according to OSHA.
On September 14, OSHA inspectors visited the facility in Wheeling where workers were working at heights greater than 15 feet. A guardrail, safety net, or personal fall arrest system must be utilized when working on roofs six feet or more from the ground, according to OSHA.
The organization found that Araujo Construction Corp. permitted workers to use ladders inappropriately and work without fall protection on evaluated platforms. According to OSHA, the company also allegedly neglected to ensure that employees utilizing air-powered nail guns had the eye, head, and face protection and did not offer forklift safety training.
According to OSHA Chicago North Area Director Angeline Loftus, “Araujo Construction Corp. continued to show a callous disregard for the safety of its employees during two inspections in August and September, despite being warned by OSHA inspectors about their failure to protect employees from falls as required by federal law in May.”
Loftus stated, “We will use our enforcement authority to hold them accountable if this corporation refuses to comply with OSHA and industry-recognized safety rules before an Araujo worker suffers needlessly from significant and perhaps crippling injuries or worse.
Following receipt of the citations and fines, Araujo Construction Corp has 15 business days to either comply, ask for an informal consultation with the OSHA area director or appeal the findings before the impartial Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1,008 construction workers lost their lives on the job in 2020. Of those, falls from height were responsible for 351 deaths.