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Contractor cited by OSHA for fall hazards at Des Plaines condo site

A west suburban contractor is facing more than $72,000 in fines not providing fall protection for workers on a seven-story condominium project in northwest suburban Des Plaines, according to federal inspectors.

The construction crew installing roofing, and heating and air-conditioning units on the project “could have fallen because their employer did not provide protection required” by OSHA, a statement from the federal agency said.

And it wasn’t the first time.

“This was the sixth time since 2004 that Armor Shield Construction was found exposing workers to fall hazards,” according to OSHA, which placed the Lombard-based from on its Severe Violator Enforcement Program in 2010.

The latest inspection came after OSHA investigators “saw workers without fall protection” on Oct. 30, 2014. Armor Shield was cited for “three repeated and two serious safety violations” and will face penalties of $72,380.

“Armor Shield needs to make immediate changes to its safety program. No worker should ever be subject to fall hazards when basic safety equipment can prevent tragedies,” Angeline Loftus, OSHA’s area director for the Chicago North Area Office in Des Plaines, said in the statement.

“Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Hundreds of workers die each year and thousands more suffer catastrophic, debilitating injuries,” she said. “Yet, lack of proper fall protection remains the most frequently cited violation by OSHA.”

The serious violations were for failing to protect workers from falling through nine unprotected skylights on the roof, and misuse of ladders, according to OSHA. Armor Shield received repeat violations for exposing workers to fall hazards on top of the building.

Armor Shield has 15 business days to comply with the citations, request an informal conference or contest the findings.