A Pennsylvania roofing company was cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration for not offering employees adequate protection against heat hazards while they worked on a middle school in the town of Boothwyn. The OSHA rules were intended to prevent workplace injury or death during operations that take place in hot environments. The safety agency proposed the maximum fine allowed for what is termed a serious violation, $7,000. Their investigation followed the hospitalization of three workers for heat stress during a roofing project.
The serious violation regarded the roofing firm not providing protocols for heat hazards in the workplace. Roofing workers at the middle school were exposed to direct sun and a heat index of 105 while they used hot tar, which is kept at a temperature of 425 degrees and is said to sharply increase the heat hazard the employees faced. OSHA requires that employers have in place a work-rest regimen, make sure workers are staying hydrated and train their employees about how to recognize heat-related illness and how to prevent it.
The director of OSHA’s office in Philadelphia said that it was vital for the company to enact the heat hazard protocols to keep any more of their workers from succumbing to high temperatures. The roofing operation was allowed 15 days after receiving the citation to take action on it whether that action was compliance, requesting a meeting or contesting the agency’s findings.
Employer negligence such as not having a program in place to keep workers safe may end with a workplace accident or illness. Workers’ compensation may be sought after a slip and fall or other unsafe working environment consequence. Individuals suffering in such incidents may seek a settlement in court.
Source: United States Department of Labor , “Boothwyn, Pa., roofing company cited by US Labor Department’s OSHA for exposing workers to excessive heat hazards“, December 17, 2013