The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has proposed more than $134,000 in penalties for a Wisconsin-based roofing contractor for fall safety violations, though the news was a surprise to the business owner.
According to an Oct. 23 news release issued by the Department of Labor, OSHA opened an inspection into Brookens Construction LLC on May 12, 2023, after observing a worker shingling a residential roof without fall protection on Ridgeview Drive in Appleton, Wis. The worker was employed by a subcontractor, Eaglevision LLC of Elgin, Ill.
OSHA inspectors said Brookens Construction — which provides roofing serves in the greater Madison, Milwaukee and Green Bay areas — failed to perform site inspections to make sure subcontractors followed safety procedures, didn't provide eye protection, used damaged ladders and didn't train workers about fall hazards.
“Our inspector found that Brookens Construction’s project manager failed to require subcontractors working on their job sites to comply with safety and health requirements despite spending several hours at each site documenting satisfactory replacement of a residential home roofs,” said OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton, Wis. “Fall hazards are the leading cause of injuries and death in the construction industry. Employers can protect workers by following federal and industry recognized safety standards to protect workers on the job.”
OSHA proposed a total of $132,593 in penalties.
When asked for comments about the inspection and penalties, Brandon Allen, owner of Brookens Construction, said he previously had a closing meeting with OSHA officials where they explained what recommendations were being made, but as of Tuesday afternoon said he hadn't received any citations.
"We're working with OSHA and internally to correct the issues and put systems into place and make sure that it doesn't happen again," he said. "At this point I haven't received any correspondence from them regarding the actual outcome of the inspection."
As of 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, OSHA's establishment database had not shown the inspection to be closed, noting in part "For open cases, in which a citation has been issued, the citation information may not be available for 5 days following receipt by the employer."
In the news release, OSHA said it cited Brookens Construction in 2019 and 2022 for similar hazards in three separate inspections.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
View the citation here.