Fall Violations Included in Two Enforcement Cases

Combined penalties proposed in citations against Birdair Inc. and National Wrecking Co. in Chicago total $105,000.

Two enforcement cases announced Tuesday by OSHA involve alleged fall protection violations and combined penalties totaling $105,000 against Birdair Inc. of Amherst, N.Y., and National Wrecking Co. of Chicago. The case involving Birdair made headlines in Dallas and For Worth last winter because it involved two employees worked on the roof of then-new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Both slipped and slid about 260 feet down the stadium's massive domed roof, fortunately coming to rest in a rain gutter at its base rather than falling to the ground. But both suffered serious injuries.

Birdair was cited for one alleged willful and one alleged serious violation with total proposed penalties of $45,000. The company is a specialty roofing contractor that came up with an innovative fabric roof covering for the stadium, according to information about the project available on its Web site.

"Birdair is considered a safe contractor working world-wide on this unique style roof system. Safety is a core value of the corporation and the safety of our workers is paramount. Birdair will be contesting the alleged violations assessed by OSHA," Birdair's general counsel, Karen L. Mathews, responded in an e-mail Tuesday.

National Wrecking faces $60,000 in proposed penalties for alleged willful and serious violations. The willful citation says the company failed to provide fall protection to employees working 16 feet above ground level. The serious citation involves alleged failure to protect workers exposed to struck by and caught between hazards while working in a hydraulic excavator. "These types of violations show the company's disregard for the safety and welfare of its workers," said OSHA Area Director Gary Anderson of in Calumet City, Ill. "Those who ignore safe practices and OSHA regulations are inviting tragedy into the lives of their workers." OSHA said it has inspected National Wrecking Co. 46 times since 1975.

Another federal OSHA enforcement case announced Tuesday is a $96,500 case against Packaging Corporation of America in Milwaukee for alleged serious and willful training, decontamination, and PPE violations involving the response to a caustic solution spill. This company, which manufactures boxes, has been inspected by OSHA more than 40 times and received more than 90 citations in the past 10 years, the agency said.

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