Nov 30, 2014

OSHA: Not Playing Games

OSHA recently fined a southeastern custom home builder nearly $175K for repeated violations. The agency cited the builder for failing to provide fall protection to workers on a number of residential framing projects, among other safety violations. Workers were exposed to falls of 19 feet in one instance.

OSHA stated in a press release that the builder has failed on multiple occasions to correct the issues, and that the company has shown an “inexcusable and deliberate lack of care for the safety and health of [its] employees.”

Falls remain the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and allowing construction workers to be exposed to fall hazards without fall protection is unacceptable, the release continued.

OSHA InspectionOSHA cited the builder with a willful violation for failing to provide fall protection at several work sites. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirement, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health. The company was also cited for seven repeat violations for failing to provide hard hats and fall protection training, and for improper use of an extension ladder. OSHA issues repeat violations if an employer was previously cited for the same or a similar violation of any standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years.

Additionally, 20 serious violations that exposed workers to scaffold hazards, struck-by and electrical hazards were cited. OSHA also noted worker use of pneumatic nail guns and powered handheld circular saws while not wearing safety glasses. An OSHA violation is serious if death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard an employer knew or should have known exists.

NAHB strives to provide members with the most up-to-date and comprehensive information on federal safety standards so that it can keep employees safe and avoid noncompliance. A comprehensive one-stop-shop toolkit on fall protection is available for free on

Additionally, OSHA has created an online resource on fall protection standards with fact sheets, posters and videos that illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventative measures. The materials come in English and Spanish.


Allan Breidenbach
Wisconsin Building Supply