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September 18, 2023
Ohio contractor facing $548K in OSHA fines

A Millersburg, Ohio, roofing contractor faces $548,801 in Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines, the agency announced September 14.

The agency cited JMH Roofing LLC with 8 willful and 2 repeat violations for again exposing workers to deadly fall hazards of up to 19 feet (ft) at 4 residential roofing jobsites in Canton, Uniontown, and Westlake, despite having fall protection equipment available on-site. 

Jonas Hershberger operates JMH Roofing LLC and RAM Roofing LLC, according to OSHA. The agency stated that the current citations continue Hershberger’s history of disregard for workplace safety regulations, with numerous citations since 2018.

“Jonas Hershberger continues his dangerous pattern of ignoring federal safety standards and exposing his workers to potentially serious and fatal injuries,” Howard Eberts, OSHA’s Cleveland area office director, said in an agency statement. “JMH Roofing owns fall protection equipment and provides it to its workers, but refuses to require them to use it or cooperate with federal inspectors, who repeatedly inform Hershberger of his obligation to protect his company’s workers on the job.”

The agency conducted inspections this year on March 9 and 28 in Uniontown, on April 19 at two sites in Canton, and on June 1 in Westlake. At all four worksites, agency inspectors observed roofing workers at heights greater than 6 ft without fall protection and without eye protection while using pneumatic nail guns. The company also allowed workers to work without properly extended ladders.

OSHA’s construction industry fall protection standard (29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §1926.501) is the agency’s most frequently cited standard, cited 5,260 times in fiscal year (FY) 2022. The agency’s eye and face protection and ladders standards are also among OSHA’s top 10 most frequently cited standards.

OSHA cites Guamanian contractor for trench violations

The Superman Corp., a Tamuning, Guam, construction company, faces $73,219 in OSHA penalties for serious and willful violations for failing to provide adequate means to enter and exit a trench within 25 ft of workers and test oxygen levels in the trench before employees entered.

The agency also cited the company with a willful violation after the agency determined that Allen Kim, president of Superman Corp., failed to provide the required protection from cave-ins for employees working in an excavation.

Agency investigators learned that Kim had previously trained on trenching and trench safety and had been warned repeatedly of trench-related hazards by peers and engineers who visited the site before OSHA’s inspection. Kim also admitted to safety officers that he was aware that motorized equipment operating near the trench was causing debris to fall into the trench and that the equipment’s vibrations increased the risk of collapse.

“Working in a trench is demanding and dangerous work that requires specific precautions and protections to keep workers safe,” Roger Forstner, OSHA’s Honolulu area office director, said in an agency statement. “By running soil compactors and excavators within 20 feet of workers in the trench and failing to provide accessible ladders, Superman Corp. chose to put production before safety, endangering the lives of its employees.”

OSHA has an ongoing National Emphasis Program (NEP) to address trench and excavation collapses, and it announced plans last year to conduct 1,000 trench and excavation inspections nationwide in response to the spike in trench fatalities.

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