Chicago Construction News staff writer
Federal workplace safety inspectors say a Chicago-area carpentry company’s response a U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspector’s notification at the site about workers without fall protection exposed to falls from elevation is “blatant disregard for workplace safety.”
According to a news release from OSHA, the site supervisor for KW Framing Inc. – a contractor based in Justice – said “The show must go on.” before directing employees to keep setting joists at heights up to 48 feet atop a multi-unit residential building in River Grove on July 18. When the general contractor became aware of the condition, the workers were removed from the roof, the release stated.
Following an investigation, OSHA cited the framing contractor for one willful violation and four serious safety violations. In addition to identifying violations for lack of fall protection, OSHA cited the company for a lack of guardrails on window openings, misusing ladders and exposing workers to unprotected rebar.
“KW Framing ignored an OSHA compliance officer’s identification of hazards that could result in death, and company officials told the workers to continue while at risk of severe and possibly fatal fall injuries,” said OSHA’s Chicago North Area Director Angeline Loftus in Arlington Heights. “Allowing employees to work at dangerous heights without providing fall protection equipment is inexcusable. OSHA will continue to hold employers accountable when they fail to provide safe working conditions.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 1,008 construction workers died on the job in 2020, with 351 of those fatalities related to falls from elevation.
OSHA’s stop falls website offers safety information and video presentations in English and Spanish to teach workers about hazards and proper safety procedures.
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA,or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.