August 17, 2016
Belleville, Ill. – Illinois contractor Robert Barringer III’s long history of putting his workers in danger of debilitating or fatal falls at his company’s job sites continues, this time at a residential home under construction in Glen Carbon.
On July 29, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations to Barringer Brothers Roofing for two willful, two repeated and six serious safety violations. The agency opened an inspection on May 18, 2016, after inspectors observed five roofers working at a height of 13 feet without adequate fall protection. In this case, the contractor faces proposed penalties of $89,100.
“Robert Barringer has shown a callous disregard for the safety of his employees and utter indifference to the law. OSHA will use every option available to us to hold him accountable for his shameless behavior,” said Aaron Priddy, OSHA’s area director in Fairview Heights. “Fall protection is never an option. Preventable falls cause the deaths of construction workers more than any other hazard. Each day that Barringer and his companies operate outside the law is a day that his workers’ lives are in danger.”
Barringer’s extensive history of federal workplace safety violations extends back to 2006. Currently in default on $267,900 in federal penalties, OSHA has cited him 19 times under various company names in the past decade for failing to protect workers from fall hazards â¿¿ the construction industry’s most lethal danger. Statistics show falls cause four of every 10 deaths in the industry.
In April 2016, OSHA placed Barringer in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program after citing fall hazards on three separate job sites. His Belleville-based company has not responded to the April citations or the proposed penalties of $103,840. The department is currently working to collect all monies owed as a result of the previously levied and affirmed penalties. The agency has cited Robert Barringer III previously under the operating names Barringer Brothers Roofing, Barringer Brothers Inc. and Barringer Brothers Construction Inc.
Inspectors also noted other hazards in May, including employees without eye protection using nail guns, the absence of a competent person to provide regular job site inspections to monitor for safety hazards and a lack of fire extinguishers. The company has also failed to initiate and maintain an accident prevention program, a hazard cited by OSHA in 2013.
View current citations here.
OSHA offers a Stop Falls online resource with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page provides fact sheets, posters and videos that illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures. OSHA standards require that an effective form of fall protection be in use when workers perform construction activities 6 feet or more above the next lower level.
The agency’s Fall Prevention Campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH’s National Occupational Research Agenda program. Begun in 2012, the campaign provides employers with lifesaving information and educational materials on how to prevent falls, provide the right equipment for workers and train employees to use gear properly.
Barringer Brothers Roofing has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report amputations, eye loss, 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 Fairview Heights office at 618-632-8612.
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.