The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited A.H. Sturgill Roofing Inc. for two serious safety violations after a worker died from complications caused by heat stroke on Aug. 22, 2012.
“Sturgill Roofing has a responsibility to mandate that workers take frequent breaks in the shade and drink plenty of water during adverse heat conditions, which poses a risk of injury or death,” said Bill Wilkerson, OSHA’s area director in Cincinnati. “Employers must train their supervisors and workers to recognize the warning signs of heat illness and take appropriate action.”
The 60-year-old temporary worker sustained heat stroke while working in direct sunlight on a commercial flat roof, performing tasks consisting of throwing rubber roofing material into a dump truck on the ground. The worker was hospitalized due to work-related heat exposure on Aug. 1.
Two serious violations involve failing to provide a program addressing heat-related hazards in the workplace and to train workers on recognizing the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses, including taking preventive measures, such as consuming adequate amounts of water. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
OSHA has developed heat illness educational materials in English and Spanish, as well as a curriculum to be used for workplace training. Additional information and resources on heat illness, including how to prevent it and what to do in case of an emergency, can be found at http://www.osha.gov/heat. OSHA also has released a free application for mobile devices that enables workers and supervisors to monitor the heat index at their work sites. The app displays a risk level for workers based on the heat index, as well as reminders about protective measures that should be taken at that risk level. It can be downloaded in both English and Spanish at http://www.osha.gov/heatapp.
The industrial and commercial roofing company, which faces a proposed fine of $8,820, has 15 days from receipt of the citation and proposed penalty to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the finding before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Cincinnati Area Office at 513-841-4132.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.