Home World Waukegan contractor pays $365K in penalties for endangering workers

Waukegan contractor pays $365K in penalties for endangering workers

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A Waukegan-based roofing contractor paid $365,576 in penalties and interest for violating federal workplace standards and endangering employees, according to a U.S. Department of Labor release.

The payment came after the Department of Labor moved to seize the contractor’s assets as part of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) debt collection program, the release said.

According to the news release, the employer, Joshua Herion, “repeatedly expos(ed) employees to falls from elevations.” Falls are the leading cause of death and serious injuries in the construction industry, it said.

“Every year, too many construction workers fall victim to the leading cause of workplace fatalities in the industry because employers fail to provide or use fall protection,” said Bill Donovan, OSHA Chicago Region Administrator, in the release.

Since 2014, OSHA cited Herion and his company, ECS Roofing Professionals Inc., nine times for violations related to fall protections, the release stated.

In January 2024, a federal court ordered Herion to pay the outstanding penalties, attorney’s fees and interest for the violations, according to the news release.

“The Department of Labor took unprecedented action to force Joshua Herion and his company, ECS Roofing Professionals Inc., to respond to a federal court and pay more than $360,000 in penalties for putting his workers’ lives and well-being in danger repeatedly,” Christine Heri, Regional Solicitor of Labor in Chicago, said in the release.

Using the judgment by District Judge Elaine E. Bucklo, the department filed claims on Herion’s property in Illinois in March 2024, and then filed a motion to compel responses to its asset discovery on May 6 to get information on other collectible assets.

The notice prompted Herion to finally comply with the court order and make payment, the release stated. The department filed a notice of satisfaction of judgment with the Northern District of Illinois’ Eastern Division on May 20 to confirm Herion made the required payments.

“Herion exhausted his rightful appeals process and even after the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and the courts upheld the OSHA penalties, he refused to comply until his personal property was jeopardized,” Heri said in the release.

Attempts to reach Herion for comment were unsuccessful.

In March 2023, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission affirmed OSHA citations issued to Herion and ECS Roofing Professionals Inc. for exposing employees to deadly fall hazards at job sites in Illinois and Wisconsin in October 2022, the release stated.

When Herion didn’t pay the debt from the commission’s decision in March, the department filed a debt collection action in the District Court in August, the release stated, resulting in the court issuing the default judgment in January.

“Federal regulations require employers to meet their legal obligation to protect workers on the job,” Donovan said. “OSHA will hold employers like Herion and ECS Roofing Professionals accountable when they callously ignore their responsibility for their employees’ safety.”

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