A custom homes construction company in Elgin, Illinois may have to pay almost $175,000 in fines after accusations from federal regulators that the company was putting its workers in danger.
Construction is one of the most dangerous jobs in the United States. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), construction workers accounted for one out of every five workplace deaths, with falls being the most common cause of death.
According to a statement from OSHA, Bosco Custom Homes Inc. has been cited for seven repeat, three willful and 20 serious safety violations, the penalties for which amount to $174,240. The custom home building company is accused of exposing workers to fall hazards when constructing suburban homes.
“Fall protection is an important piece of the safety puzzle with custom home construction. Custom homes often tend to be larger, and have added detail elements at height, both inside and outside,” says Erik Cocks – Arthur Rutenberg Homes. “Our building companies know that one of their most valuable assets on the job site is the labor force, and having someone hurt on a site is never ok. There has to be enforcement of the processes in place to protect everyone on the site.”
Fall protection was reportedly absent at three separate construction sites, all of which were home framing projects in Elgin and neighboring Wheaton.
An inspector witnessed eight employees framing a new ranch house in Elgin on April 30 without guardrail systems, safety nets or personal fall arrest systems that would protect them from potentially deadly falls.
Witnesses in Wheaton, IL. reported a similar sight on June 10. Workers operating without any form of fall protection were exposed to potential falls of up to 19 feet at the site of a new home.
The last incident was on June 19th, when workers were exposed to 12-foot falls while constructing another residential home in Elgin.
This isn’t the first time Bosco Custom Homes has gotten heat for unsafe practices. According to the OSHA statement, the company was cited for many of the same violations in 2013, and it still hasn’t paid any of the $17,200 it was fined at that time.
“Bosco Custom Homes has failed to fix safety hazards related to falls,” Jake Scott, OSHA’s area director, said in the statement. He added that the second wave of charges show “an inexcusable and deliberate lack of care for the safety and health of the company’s employees.”
Bosco Custom Homes has yet to comment publicly on the allegations.