Salem – Oregon OSHA has fined a Roseburg contractor for the second time in as many months as the company continues to fumble basic workplace safety standards that protect workers from falls that could kill them.
In fact, Mid Oregon Builders LLC has a history of failure when it comes to following a straightforward and reliable requirement: Implementing adequate fall protection systems where workers are exposed to falling six feet or more to a lower level.
“There is absolutely no good reason for an employer to neglect fall protection requirements that are proven to protect workers,” said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA. “To repeatedly choose to disregard them is inexcusable. It serves only to leave preventable hazards unaddressed and people’s lives at increased risk.”
The most recent citation – issued in November and carrying a penalty of $42,000 – resulted from an inspection that found the company had exposed an employee to a potential fall of about 20 feet. The employee, who was doing a roofing job on a new house in Sutherlin, was not connected to a fall protection lifeline.
The citation is on top of another issued in September. In that case, Oregon OSHA fined the company $38,390. That citation involved other workplace safety violations. But the bulk of it – $36,000 – stemmed from Mid Oregon Builders’ repeated failure to heed the same six-foot trigger-height requirements for fall protection.
The gravity of the situation cannot be overstated: Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Yet, Mid Oregon Builders has violated the same fall protection rule five times since July 2018.
In one case, the company provided no fall protection systems to four employees working on a framing job. They were working more than nine feet above a lower level.
In another case – also a framing job – the company provide no type of protection, exposing two employees to a potential fall of about 10 feet to lower levels. In yet another case, Mid-Oregon Builders left two employees unconnected to their fall protection lifelines. The workers were two stories up on a roof, exposed to a potential fall of 21 feet to the ground.
From just its history of violating the six-foot trigger-height requirements, Mid-Oregon Builders has incurred penalties totaling more than $120,000. Under Oregon OSHA’s rules, penalties multiply when employers commit repeat offenses.
In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers resources to help improve workplace safety and health. These resources include the division’s Fall Protection Suite of online video training and its A-to-Z topic page about fall protection.
Oregon OSHA, a division of the Department of Consumer and Business Services, enforces the state’s workplace safety and health rules and works to improve workplace safety and health for all Oregon workers. For more information, visit osha.oregon.gov.
The Department of Consumer and Business Services is Oregon’s largest business regulatory and consumer protection agency. For more information, go to www.dcbs.oregon.gov.