Gesmer & Reynolds, P.C.

Illinois homebuilder cited for exposing roofers to fall risk

Now that it is spring, it will become more common to see roofers at elevated heights on new construction or on established buildings needing roofing services. Obviously, roofing is an inherently dangerous occupation. State and federal work safety laws require Illinois roofing employers to provide certain worker protections against falls, which can cause severe injuries and death.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the division of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) charged with primary responsibility for enforcing federal workplace-safety laws and regulations. OSHA recently fined one Aurora-based contractor almost $334,000 for four roofing safety violations. One was for a repeat violation and three for willful violations. The agency announced the violations in a recent news release.

According to the release, inspectors observed employees on the roof of a home in Naperville without sufficient fall protection. OSHA also found that the builder did not provide safety glasses and hard hats and did not train roofers on fall protection practices.

It is not known if the company challenged OSHA's findings.

What to do if you are injured in a fall at work

Of course, the first step is always to get medical care. Tell the treating doctors exactly what happened. Next, as soon as possible, report the injury to your employer. Normally you must report the injury in 45 days in Illinois. At this point, file your worker's compensation claim carefully and thoroughly.

If the injury is expected to last at least a year or result in death, you may also be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Surviving loved ones of a roofer killed on the job should pursue workers' compensation death benefits.

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