Salem, OR — Oregon OSHA has fined a Portland-area contractor $9,035 for four job safety violations, including willfully exposing workers to fall hazards that could kill them.
The citation against owner Matthew Bese, who was doing business as Sherwood-based Ridgeline Roofing & Construction, stems from an inspection conducted under the division’s local emphasis program focused on fall hazards in construction.
The September 2020 inspection found Bese doing roofing work on a house in Tigard alongside several employees, in plain view, with no fall protection and exposed to a fall of at least nine feet. Oregon OSHA requires employers to implement adequate fall protection systems where workers are exposed to falling six feet or more to a lower level.
During interviews, Bese said he does not require his employees to work with fall protection for roofing jobs with a low pitch. At the same time, he said he recognized the importance of the six-foot trigger-height requirement. He also said it would take longer to finish the job if they used fall protection.
Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry.
“There is absolutely no good reason to ignore fall protection requirements that have, time and again, been proven to protect workers,” said Michael Wood, administrator for Oregon OSHA. “To make excuses is an abdication of responsibility that only courts disaster.”
Altogether, Oregon OSHA cited Bese for the following violations and proposed penalties:
- Knowingly did not provide fall protection systems to employees where they were exposed to falling six feet or more to a lower level. It was a willful violation. Penalty: $8,900.
- Did not ensure that the portable ladder used to reach and leave the roof extended at least three feet above the landing where work was being done. It was a serious violation. Penalty: $135.
- Failed to prepare a written certification showing employees were properly trained to use fall protection systems. It was an other-than-serious violation.
- Failed to document, make available, and maintain for three years a record of each safety meeting addressing hazards related to tools, equipment, work environment, and unsafe work practices. It was an other-than-serious violation.
In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers resources to help improve workplace safety and health. These resources include the division’s Fall Protection Suite of online video training and its A-to-Z topic page about fall protection.
The Fall Protection Suite includes a course that specifically addresses fall protection for roofing. Learn more about help provided by Oregon OSHA’s consultation services, technical staff, and additional education and training services.