Occupational Safety & Health Administration
344 Smoke Tree Business Park
North Aurora, Illinois 60542
February 19, 1997
1. All 100% plastic rebar caps are prohibited
for impalement protection. They are acceptable for scratch
2. All companies in Aurora's jurisdiction
that were inspected recently for scaffolds have not
trained their employees in new scaffold changes. This
change was effective November 29, 1996.
3. Two of the four elements for the employee
misconduct defense are effective inspections and consistent
and progressive enforcement when the noncompliance with
rules is discovered. These elements of the defense are
to be proved by the employer. It is not credible to
an outside judge that the only time that employees did
not follow the rule was during the OSHA inspection.
Approximately 85% of the cases heard by OSHA Review
Commision in the last ten years have found in favor
of OSHA when this defense was raised.
4. Aurora's Fall LEP will account for
most construction inspections in the upcoming year.
Worst problem areas continue to be metal decking fall
protection, aerial lift tie-off, sloped roof slide protection,
wire rope guardrails, and unguardred scaffolds.
5. Credible enforcement presence is a
term used frequently in OSHA. Critics across the nation
are saying we did not conduct enough inspections last
year to deter noncompliance. Locally, we have been told
we are out there less, but citing multi-employer citations
for the construction manager/general contractor has
changed the safety on the sites positively. This year,
we are committed to a stronger presence at worksites.
Count on seeing us more often.
6. Our office is pulling nationwide history
for every contractor inspected. We have a new computer
system and are able to search companys' histories instantly.
Several out of state contractors have had extensive
history. Many local contractors have been cited repeatedly
for the same unsafe condition among the three Chicago
land offices. Multiple violators will no longer escape
"repeat" violation violations and high penalties.
7. Deficient accident prevention programs
are still the most cited standard in Aurora. Fifty percent
of companies inspected under the FALL LEP do not have
a single rule for the number one killer in their craft,
but easily have 100+ pages devoted to hazard communication.
8. Aurora office has conducted 14 depositions
and issued 5 subpeonas to contractors in 1996. Most
of these cases were not the result of an accident. Citations
in these cases ranged from $3500 to $149,000.
9. Ninety percent of the construction
companies where the hazard communication materials were
reviewed did not have MSDS's for the chemical used on
the site. The worst example was a company having 50
data sheets in their book, none matching the chemicals
10. Our office is still seeing non-shock
absorbing lanyards used for fall arrest in aerial lifts.
The lanyard must meet either 1926.502(d)(16), 1910.66,
or ANSI Z359 requirements.
11. Masonry wall bracing is still a problem
in the Chicagoland areal. Many contractors have no basis
for their bracing systems. OSHA will not allow a wet
wall to be built 16 feet without adequate bracing.
12. OSHA is citing the construction manager/general
contractor (CM/GC) for hazards that the subcontractor
may be exposed to or that the subcontractor created.
We have been reviewing contracts between the owner and
CM/GC to see who is responsible for site safety. 1926.16
states that "In no case shall the prime contractor be
relieved of overall responsibility for compliance with
the requirements of this part for all work to be performed
13. Aurora OSHA office is building a
database of E-mail addresses to send out current information,
including the construction update. Contact email@example.com
to be on the electronic mailing list.
Any comments to John Newquist - OSHA
(630) 896-8700, FAX (630) 892-2160.
E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org