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OSHA: Waukegan roofing company repeatedly ignored fall safety rules

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2022 | Work Accidents

Waukegan roofing contractor ECS Roofing Professionals already had a history of violating federal workplace safety standards and ignoring the citations they received, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Now, the agency has proposed penalties totaling $360,531 after the company exposed workers to deadly fall hazards at two separate sites.

According to OSHA, an inspector saw an ECS Roofing foreman and two roofers working up to 20 feet off the ground with inadequate fall protection on a commercial roofing job in Hoffman Estates. Then, just 10 days later, an inspector saw three ECS Roofing workers at a residential job working at least 12 feet off the ground without any fall protection equipment at all.

In both cases, when the OSHA inspectors started asking questions, the foreman directed all the workers to leave the site in defiance. The investigation nevertheless found that ECS Roofing:

  • Failed to equip its workers with adequate fall protection equipment
  • Failed to train workers on how to use fall protection equipment
  • Failed to provide safe access to a ladder jack scaffold platform
  • Failed to ensure head and eye protection were used

As a result, OSHA issued the company one “willful,” four “repeat” and eight “serious” violations. These citations continue a long history of ECS Roofing being cited for failing to protect its roofers. The company has been cited at least seven times for similar hazards since 2014. Moreover, the company has refused to respond to requests for information, refused to respond to previous citations and owes $139,656 in unpaid OSHA penalties.

ECS Roofing was given 15 days from these latest incidents to contest OSHA’s findings and proposed penalties.

“While ECS Roofing Professionals seem willing to ignore the dangers of falls and the potential for serious injuries or worse, OSHA will hold [ECS] and other roofing contractors accountable for failing to meet the legal requirements to provide safe working conditions,” said an OSHA area director.

Falls from heights are no joke

The construction industry is among the most dangerous industries to work in, and roofing is among the most dangerous parts of that industry. Fall hazards are among OSHA’s most frequently cited hazards.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1,008 construction workers died on the job in 2020. Of those, 351 fatalities were due to falls from heights.

It’s important to note that injuries caused by falls from heights are generally covered by workers’ compensation even if the worker was not using the appropriate fall protection equipment. Fault for the accident is typically not a factor in workers’ comp cases.

In Illinois, workers’ compensation also offers benefits to the family members of people who die in work-related incidents.