Salem, OR — Oregon OSHA has fined a Canby-based general contractor more than $36,000 for violating job safety standards designed to protect workers from falls that could seriously injure or kill them.
The citation against JMJ Construction LLC stems from an inspection the division launched under its ongoing emphasis program focused on preventing falls in construction. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry.
Oregon OSHA's inspection centered on a construction site in Beaverton, where employees were conducting roofing work on a two-story house. The inspection found at least one employee working on the roof with no protection against a potential fall to the ground of about 19 feet.
It was a violation of a basic fall protection rule requiring employers to implement protective systems – such as a personal fall restraint system – when employees are exposed to a hazard of falling six feet or more to a lower level.
In fact, it was the fourth time JMJ Construction violated the standard. Its most recent repeat violation of the standard occurred on a construction site in Forest Grove in May of this year.
“When employers repeatedly fail to comply with safety standards that we know are effective at protecting workers against fall hazards, they are only increasing the risk to their employees of serious harm or death," said Julie Love, interim administrator for Oregon OSHA. “There is simply no excuse for not putting proven safety measures into practice."
Altogether, Oregon OSHA cited JMJ Construction for the following violations and proposed penalties totaling $36,180:
- Failure to provide fall protection systems where workers were exposed to a hazard of falling six feet or more to a lower level. At least one employee was exposed to a potential fall of about 19 feet to the ground. Also, failure to ensure employees walking or working from the house's wooden top plates were protected from a potential fall of about nine feet to the wooden floor below. It was a repeat violation. Under Oregon OSHA's rules, penalties multiply when employers commit repeat offenses.
Total proposed penalty: $36,000.
- Failure to ensure a portable ladder – used for accessing an eight-foot-high top plate – extended at least three feet above the upper landing surface.
- Failure to ensure at least one employee properly used a six-foot stepladder. Instead, the top of the stepladder was used as a step to reach a top plate at a height of eight feet.
Total proposed penalty: $180.
In addition to its enforcement activities, Oregon OSHA offers employers free 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 courses addressing
fall protection fundamentals, and
Employers are encouraged to use free resources – available now from Oregon OSHA and involving no fault, no citations, and no penalties – for help protecting their employees:
Consultation services – Provides free and confidential help with safety and health programs, including how to control and eliminate hazards, and hands-on training
Technical staff – Helps employers understand requirements and how to apply them to their worksites
- Phone (toll-free in Oregon): 800-922-2689