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September 30, 2022
Oregon OSHA issues $144,000 fall protection fines

On September 22, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Oregon OSHA) announced fines totaling more than $144,000 issued to 2 contractors for violations, including repeat offenses, of state fall protection rules at worksites in Salem and Woodburn. The violations put multiple workers at risk of serious injury or death from falls to lower levels, according to the state workplace safety and health agency.

Oregon OSHA issued separate citations to Corvallis-based Iron Head Roofing LLC and Canby-based JMJ Construction LLC that included the same violation of a basic safety requirement: implementing adequate fall protection systems, such as a personal fall restraint system, or other measures where workers are exposed to falling 6 feet or more to a lower level.

According to the agency, it was the fifth time since May 2019 that Iron Head Roofing committed the same violation and the fourth time since February 2020 that JMJ Construction committed the same violation.

The citation issued to Iron Head Roofing followed an inspection that found four of six employees working on the roof of a house in Salem with no fall protection. The citation against JMJ Construction came after an inspection found an employee installing siding on a house with no fall protection. Another employee was using a scaffold with no fall protection, according to the agency.

Both inspections were conducted under Oregon OSHA's emphasis program focused on fall hazards in construction. Under the emphasis program, state inspectors have been directed to act on observations made while in the field and to follow up on valid complaints and referrals.

Iron Head Roofing was cited because fall protection systems were not in place where workers were exposed to the hazard of falling 6 feet or more to a lower level. The agency proposed a penalty of $78,000.

JMJ Construction was cited for the following violations:

  • Fall protection systems were not in place where employees were exposed to the hazard of falling 6 feet or more to a lower level, with a proposed penalty of $58,500.  
  • A portable ladder did not extend at least 3 feet above an upper landing, with a proposed penalty of $4,500.
  • No personal fall arrest systems or guardrail systems were put in place while a scaffold was in use, with a proposed penalty of $3,900.

“Fall protection saves lives," Oregon OSHA Acting Administrator Renee Stapleton said in an agency statement. “It is an essential safety practice that employers must carry out when work is being done at heights. There is no excuse for neglecting it."

Oregon is 1 of 22 states with federally approved state plans covering private sector and local and state government employees. State plans are monitored by federal OSHA and must be at least as effective as the federal program.

Federal OSHA recently announced that its construction industry fall protection standard remains the agency’s most frequently cited standard for the 12th year in a row. The fall protection training standard was the 8th most frequently cited standard in fiscal year 2022.

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