Roofing contractor continues to expose workers to potentially deadly fall hazards, US Department of Labor inspections in Appleton area find
APPLETON, WI – An Appleton contractor with a long history of exposing employees to dangerous fall hazards now faces $349,371 in additional penalties after U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors observed roofing workers at heights greater than 6 feet at risk of serious or fatal injuries at two Appleton-area jobsites in May and June 2022.
OSHA has cited Hector Able Hernandez – the operator of Town City Construction – repeatedly for exposing employees to fall hazards and proposed $633,500 in OSHA penalties – still mostly unpaid – for similar violations found during 16 inspections since 2004.
On May 16, 2022, in Greenville and on June 24, 2022, in Appleton, federal inspectors found Hernandez had employed 15 workers at the two sites for two weeks or less.
Following these inspections, OSHA cited Hernandez for three willful and two serious safety violations for failing to provide eye, head and fall protection and train workers on fall hazards.
“Hector Able Hernandez continually puts vulnerable workers at risk by blatantly ignoring federal workplace safety laws that help protect workers from serious and sometimes fatal fall injuries,” said OSHA Area Director Robert Bonack in Appleton, Wisconsin. “Falls are one of deadliest hazards in the construction industry, and yet Town City Construction knowingly fails to fulfill its responsibility to ensure worker safety.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 1,008 construction workers died on the job in 2020, with 351 of those fatalities related to falls from elevation.
“Our office has conducted more than 150 inspections of roofing contractors in 2022 – primarily in Outagamie County – following the widespread roofing damage caused by April’s severe storms,” Bonack added. “Employers are responsible for the safety of workers on the job. Those who hire roofing contractors can be another line of defense in protecting workers by insisting that the companies with whom they contract to make repairs follow federal safety regulations.”
The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.