August 2, 2016
ELKHORN, Neb. – Rich Tiller might have changed his company’s name, but the Nebraska construction company owner has not changed his callous attitude toward his employees’ safety and well-being.
Since 2005, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has found the Omaha-based employer in violation of federal safety regulations eight times. The agency has repeatedly cited Tiller and his companies for defying safety regulations that protect construction workers from falls, the industry’s leading cause of death.
On July 26, OSHA cited Tiller after inspectors saw four employees of R&M Equipt LLC working at heights greater than 10 feet without adequate fall protection on Feb. 5, 2016, while constructing a residential home for Hildy Homes in Elkhorn. During its investigation, the agency found R&M Equipt previously operated as Affordable Exteriors, owned by Tiller. OSHA cited Rich Tiller and R&M Equipt LLC for a willful violation with $70,000 in proposed penalties.
Tiller has routinely failed to cooperate with OSHA and currently owes penalties in excess of $250,000 for exposing workers to falls and other job hazards on four occasions between 2011 and 2015. OSHA and the Department of Justice are working together to collect outstanding penalties.
“Whether it’s R&M Equipt or Affordable Exteriors, changing the company name does not end the owner’s responsibility for past violations. OSHA is holding Rich Tiller accountable for his repeated pattern of willfully exposing workers to fall hazards on job sites,” said Jeff Funke, OSHA’s area director in Omaha. “Preventable falls account for nearly 40 percent of all deaths in the construction industry. OSHA is committed to reducing fall injuries and deaths in the construction industry.”
View current citations here.
Preventable falls account for nearly 40 percent of all deaths in the construction industry. Federal safety and health officials are determined to reduce the numbers of preventable, fall-related deaths in the construction industry. 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.
OSHA’s ongoing 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.
Based in LaVista, R & M Equipt, LLC 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 Omaha office at 402-553-0171.
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.