Connecticut Roofer Fined $127,560 for Willful Fall Hazards

"There is a simple truth that employers must recognize: Fall protection is a requirement, never an option, when employees work at heights of 6 feet or more," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport.

A Shelton, Conn., roofing contractor with a history of failing to provide fall protection for its employees has been cited by OSHA for fall hazards at a work site in Stratford. Total Remodeling Services LLC faces a total of $127,560 in proposed fines. This is the fourth time since 2009 that OSHA has cited this employer for fall-related hazards.

"There is a simple truth that employers must recognize: Fall protection is a requirement, never an option, when employees work at heights of 6 feet or more," said Robert Kowalski, OSHA's area director in Bridgeport. "In this case, employees were exposed to 15- to 22-foot falls from the roof and ladders because this employer chose to not provide the required safeguards and training that would protect them."

OSHA's Bridgeport Area Office opened its inspection after an OSHA inspector observed Total Remodeling Services employees working on a roof without any form of fall protection. The inspection also established that the workers had not been trained to recognize that they were exposed to fall hazards, nor had they been trained in properly setting up and using ladders to access the roof. They faced an additional fall hazard from carrying shingles and other materials while they were climbing ladders.

Because OSHA cited Total Remodeling Services Inc. in 2009, 2010, and 2011 for the same hazards at work sites in Bridgeport and Milford, the agency is now citing the contractor for three willful violations with $120,300 in proposed fines for the hazards at the Stratford work site.

"Falls are the number one killer in construction work," Kowalski said. "An employer who repeatedly and knowingly fails to safeguard his employees against falls exposes them to death or disabling injuries."

Total Remodeling Services was cited for one serious violation for allowing an employee to use his hand to extend the upper section of a ladder while he was on it. Additionally, one repeat violation was cited for failing to inspect a ladder for damage. A similar violation was cited at a Bridgeport work site in November 2009. Fines for the serious and repeat violations total $7,260.

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