PARK RIDGE, Ill. — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is suggesting penalties of more than $263,000 for an Illinois construction contractor that repeatedly exposes its workers to fall hazards.
According to a release, inspectors found that Emerald Inc., a Roselle, Ill.-based contractor, continued a pattern of violating federal safety standards and ignoring safety citations and penalties during a Nov. 8, 2021, investigation at a Park Ridge residential construction site.
In the agency’s most recent investigation, an OSHA inspector found Emerald exposed a foreman and a roofer to deadly fall hazards as they worked at heights of up to 22 feet above the ground with inadequate fall protection. The investigation determined Emerald had failed to equip workers with adequate fall protection equipment and did not train workers on the proper use of powered industrial vehicles, ensure the use of head and eye protection and allow workers to use ladders improperly.
“Emerald Inc. continues to put its workers at risk of the construction industry’s most cited safety hazard — a fall from heights — which can leave workers with serious debilitating injuries or worse,” said OSHA Chicago North Area Director Angeline Loftus in Des Plaines, Ill. “The company’s disregard of federal safety standards and willingness to gamble with its workers’ lives is disturbing. OSHA will continue to cite the company for its violations and hold them legally responsible for the dangerous risks they are taking.”
Currently, Emerald Inc. owes more than $378,561 in penalties from six previous inspections dating back to 2018. In addition, the company, has not responded to citations issued by OSHA in 2018, 2020 and 2021. The unpaid penalties have been referred for debt collection.
As a result of the Park Ridge investigation, OSHA issued Emerald Inc. one willful and five repeat citations, and proposed additional penalties of $263,226.
In late 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 351 of the 1,008 construction workers who died on the job, were deaths related to falls from elevation.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with each of OSHA’s area directors, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
View the citation here.