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January 03, 2024
Ohio builder agrees to pay $730K OSHA fine

Charm Builders Ltd., an Ohio-based contractor, agreed to pay $730,000 in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalties to settle a dozen citations stemming from a March 2022 investigation into fall protection violations, the agency announced December 28.

On September 29, 2022, OSHA cited Millersburg, Ohio-based Charm Builders for 6 egregious-willful, 5 repeat, and 1 serious violation, marking the 12th time the agency has cited Charm Builders since 2009 for violations related to fall hazards. OSHA proposed penalties of $1,090,231 and placed the employer in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP).

According to OSHA, the employer failed to ensure the use of fall protection, didn’t train employees on fall hazards, allowed the unsafe use of portable ladders, and didn’t make sure workers used safety glasses at a Wheeling, West Virginia, site.

As part of the settlement agreement, Charm Builders must also employ enhanced abatement measures that include the following:

  • Hire a safety consultant to evaluate the company’s safety program, then submit the plan to OSHA.
  • Make all improvements recommended in the report.
  • Accept unannounced monthly audits conducted by the safety consultant at the company’s worksites and written reports submitted to the employer, which the employer must retain.
  • Inform OSHA of all its current and future worksites, and allow entry for investigators.
  • Not oppose the entry of a Section 11(b) order of enforcement.

“This employer’s history of defying federal safety standards and continuously jeopardizing workers’ safety is simply unacceptable,” Blake McEnany, OSHA’s Charleston, West Virginia, area director, said in an agency statement.

According to OSHA, Charm Builders is a roofing and siding contractor that works throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Illinois roofer again cited for fall protection violations

Illinois roofing contractor Miller Building Systems LLC, previously cited more than 20 times for violating federal workplace safety regulations, was again found to be exposing employees to falls as they did residential framing work on houses under construction in Savoy, Illinois. OSHA cited Miller Building Systems for 3 willful and 4 serious violations and proposed $278,452 in penalties following 2 inspections, the agency announced December 28.

Agency inspectors observed Miller Building Systems employees standing, climbing, and walking about roofs, beams, and top plates while framing homes without any protection from falling, sometimes at heights greater than 18 feet above the ground, at a Prairie Meadows subdivision on June 26 and July 26, 2023.

The agency opened five other inspections of Miller Building Systems sites in August, October, and November 2023. 

In the past decade, OSHA has cited Elmer Miller and companies he operates 20 times, including for repeat violations and willful violations, as well as assessed more than $900,000 in penalties, most of which hasn’t been paid. Most of the violations relate to the contractor’s failures to protect workers from potentially deadly fall hazards while building roofs, according to the agency.

“Preventable falls remain the construction industry’s leading cause of death and injuries,” Edward Marshall, OSHA’s Peoria, Illinois, area office director, said in a statement. “Elmer Miller’s repeated failure to follow federal workplace safety rules shows a disturbing disregard for his employee’s lives and well-being.”

In October 2023, OSHA announced that its construction industry fall protection standard (29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §1926.501) was its most frequently cited standard for the 13th straight year, cited 7,271 times in fiscal year (FY) 2023, which ended September 30.

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