Workers in Boise, Idaho, were busy, but often lacked basic safety protections, a newspaper investigation found.
Workers in Boise, Idaho, were busy, but often lacked basic safety protections, a newspaper investigation found.

The Idaho Statesman studied OSHA records from March 2011 through December 2016, and found that at least 19 home construction companies in an area called Treasure Valley failed three or more inspections.

Employers were cited for more than 400 serious or willful violations. The newspaper toured job sites in January and found workers on snow-covered and icy roofs without any safety gear.

Some of the OSHA inspections were prompted by worker deaths, such as that of Brandon Ho'Rine, 42, who was fatally injured in a fall last September after working without safety equipment on a roof.

Roofers were not the only ones working in unsafe conditions in the area, the newspaper reported. A Treasure Valley doctor called OSHA last fall after diagnosing a landscape company employee with acute silicosis, a chronic and incurable lung disease caused by breathing silica dust. Inspectors learned two laborers worked at least five days a week, up to 10 hours per day, dry-cutting bricks in an enclosed space.

Some contractors have taken safety to heart by investing in equipment and training designed to protect workers. One contractor, for example, now installs a permanent D-ring anchor on every roof he installs. The device adds "maybe $25" to the cost of the job and gives roofers, painters and siding installers a solid connection.

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