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OSHA cites suburban contractor for not protecting workers from falls

Florentino Rodriguez’s company was cited a total of $196,905 in penalties.

Contractor sited for violations.
Inspectors visited Rodriguez’s construction site in November 2018 and notified him of the violations a few months later.
Sun-Times file photo

A contractor is facing thousands of dollars in penalties for exposing his employees to falls at a construction site in west suburban Wheaton.

Florentino Rodriguez, of DB Custom Carpentry LLC, was cited for one serious and two willful violations during an inspection at a site in the 2000 block of Orchard Road in Wheaton in November 2018, according The U.S Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

A willful violation is when an employer “either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement” or is indifferent to the safety of employees, according to the OSHA website.

Rodriguez was cited for the violation because employees worked on a roof without guardrails, safety nets or harnesses, risking a fall of at least 12 feet, OSHA said. Workers were also vulnerable to falling through holes at the site from similar heights.

Employees were also not trained to recognize hazards or minimize fall risks, OSHA said, which resulted in the second willful violation.

The OSHA website says an employer commits a serious violation when a workplace hazard exists that can result in death or serious physical harm. Rodriguez was cited for the violation because his workers were allowed to operate a forklift without training, OSHA said.

The three penalties total about $196,905, OSHA said. Rodriguez-owned companies have been cited for fall violations 12 times since 2013, and he owes more than $797,000 in penalties.

“This employer continues to expose employees to fall hazards ‒ the leading cause of injuries and fatalities in the construction industry,” OSHA Naperville Area Office Director Jacob Scott said. “Employers must comply with federal safety requirements, and ensure that employees are adequately protected from and trained on hazards that exist at their worksites.”