Roofer
File Photo | Photo: U.S. Army/Kerry Solan

A Waukegan-based roofing company with a history of violating federal safety standards has been cited again by OSHA for “exposing workers to deadly fall hazards,” federal officials said.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said on Tuesday that Joshua Herion, the owner of ECS Roofing Professionals, is facing proposed penalties of $360,531.

In October, an OSHA inspector observed a foreman and two roofers atop a Hoffman Estates commercial building working at heights of up to 20 feet off the ground with inadequate fall protection, OSHA said in a statement.

Just 10 days later, an OSHA inspector observed a crew of three working at heights greater than 12 feet atop a residential building in Waukesha, Wisconsin, without fall protection equipment.

OSHA found ECS Roofing Professionals failed to equip workers with adequate fall protection equipment, train workers on its use, provide safe access to a ladder jack scaffold platform and ensure head and eye protection were used, the statement said.

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The agency issued one willful, four repeat and eight serious violations.

OSHA’s Chicago North Area Director Angeline Loftus, who investigated the Hoffman Estates job site, said in both of the incidents the foreman left the site and directed others to do so when OSHA inspectors began asking questions about their safety procedures.

“This defiant act demonstrates Joshua Herion and his company’s disregard for the safety and well-being of workers and the law,” Loftus said.

“Fall hazards make roofing work among the construction industry’s most dangerous jobs and among OSHA’s most frequently cited safety hazards,” Loftus added.

Since 2014, ECS Roofing Professionals has been cited seven times by OSHA for similar hazards at other job sites, officials said.

The company has failed to respond to OSHA’s requests for information, has not responded to citations from previous inspections and has had $139,656 in unpaid OSHA penalties referred to debt collection, OSHA said.

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“While ECS Roofing Professionals seem willing to ignore the dangers of falls and the potential for serious injuries or worse, OSHA will hold Joshua Herion and other roofing contractors accountable for failing to meet the legal requirements to provide safe working conditions,” said OSHA’s Area Director Christine Zortman, who investigated the Waukesha job site.

“Fall injuries and fatalities are preventable with the proper use of safety equipment and training,” Zortman said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 1,008 construction workers died on the job in 2020 with 351 of those fatalities due to falls from elevation.

ECS Roofing Professionals has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties for the Hoffman Estates site and the Waukesha site to comply, request an informal conference with each of OSHA’s area directors or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.