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

A Waukegan-based roofing company ordered to pay fines for continuously ignoring federal workplace and safety standards designed to prevent employees from falling has paid more than $360,000 in fines and interest, officials said.

Grayslake resident Joshua Herion, owner of ECS Roofing Professionals Inc. in Waukegan, was forced to pay $365,576 in fines and interest after the U.S. Department of Labor moved to seize his assets as part of the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration debt collection program, officials said.

The action follows a January U.S. District Court’s default order to pay the outstanding penalties, attorney’s fees, and interest for exposing employees to falls from elevations in 2022, officials said.

“The Department of Labor took unprecedented action to force Joshua Herion and his company, ECS Roofing Professionals Inc., to respond to a federal court and pay more than $360,000 in penalties for putting his workers lives and well-being in danger repeatedly,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Christine Heri in Chicago. “Herion exhausted his rightful appeals process and even after the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and the courts upheld the OSHA penalties, he refused to comply until his personal property was jeopardized.”

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A person who answered the phone at ECS Roofing Professionals in Waukegan said they had no comment on the story and said Herion was not available when contacted Wednesday.

According to a news release issued Tuesday, Herion was accused of endangering employees by ignoring federal workplace standards and penalties assessed for violations claiming he exposed employees to deadly fall hazards at job sites in Illinois and Wisconsin.

OSHA determined the company did not provide employees with required fall arrest systems, a safety net or guardrails as they installed siding and roofing materials atop roofs in Hoffman Estates and Waukesha, Wisconsin.

The agency issued citations and fined ECS Roofing $226,530 for Illinois violations and $134,001 for violations in Wisconsin.

The company contested the citations and penalties.

Falls are the leading cause of death and serious injuries for people employed in the construction industry, officials said.

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Since 2014, OSHA has cited Herion and his companies nine times for violations related to fall protection, officials said.

The U.S. Department of Labor filed liens on Herion’s property in Illinois in March and filed motions to compel payment in May. Herion complied with the court order and made the required payment, officials said.

“Federal regulations require employers to meet their legal obligation to protect workers on the job,” said OSHA Region Administrator Bill Donovan in Chicago. “OSHA will hold employers like Herion and ECS Roofing Professionals accountable when they callously ignore their responsibility for their employees safety. Every year, too many construction workers fall victim to the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the industry because employers fail to provide or use fall protection.”