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An administrative law judge of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission affirmed a citation against a Missouri construction employer for violating fall protection requirements and assessed a $3,741 penalty.
In December 2016, an inspection was conducted at a worksite of Kansas City, Missouri-based Adam Ham Construction LLC after two inspectors observed a person working on the roof of a residential construction site without fall protection, according to review commission documents in Secretary of Labor v. Adam Ham Construction LLC. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a two-item citation for failing to ensure the use of eye protection and adequate fall protection and proposed a $5,879 penalty in January 2017.
Although owner Adam Ham timely contested the citation items and penalty, he failed to follow through in contesting the citations, according to review commission documents. He participated in the litigation through a July 2017 telephone conference but did not file a list of witnesses or a list of exhibits in preparation for the trial and did not appear at a scheduled final pretrial conference or the October 2017 trial itself.
The U.S. Department of Labor withdrew one item of the citation prior to commencement of the trial, which reduced the total proposed penalty to $3,741. The trial proceeded over the remaining citation item, which alleged a failure to utilize fall protection while working on a roof more than 6 feet above the ground.
The law judge affirmed the citation and categorized it as serious, warranting the $3,741 penalty.
“While the evidence shows there was only one employee on the roof at the time of the inspection, he was exposed to the condition for at least three to four hours after Mr. Ham left the site,” the law judge stated. The company “did not take any precautions to avoid the injury, nor did it have a written hazard communication program or disciplinary program in place. Additionally, because there was ice and snow on portions of the roof, and the roof was classified as steep, the likelihood of an actual injury was high.”
The law judge’s decision became a final order of the review commission on Thursday.
Mr. Ham could not be immediately reached for comment.
An administrative law judge of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has upheld citations and a $16,000 penalty issued against a West Virginia construction company because of the owner’s “plain indifference” to fall hazards.