A Utah-based solar power business, Ion Solar LLC, has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) for endangering workers. The company allowed its employees to work on a snow-covered, two-story roof in Johnstown, Colorado, without the legally required fall protection. This incident occurred in late December 2022 and was discovered during a safety investigation conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Ion Solar LLC is cited for lack of fall protection requirements.
Prompted by a complaint about worker safety, OSHA initiated an inspection and found that Ion Solar LLC had disregarded fall protection requirements outlined in the company’s safety and health program. This failure exposed employees to the risk of falls from elevation, which is the leading cause of death in the construction industry.
During the investigation, an onsite manager admitted to not enforcing the safety program for the one-day job. In addition to the lack of fall protection, Ion Solar also failed to provide hard hats to employees on the ground, leaving them vulnerable to objects falling from the roof. OSHA cited the company for both the absence of hard hats and willfully exposing workers to falls. The proposed penalty totals $170,992.
OSHA Area Director Amanda Kupper in Denver emphasized the importance of protecting workers from the start to the finish of a project, regardless of its duration. Serious and fatal injuries can occur at any time on construction sites, highlighting the responsibility of employers to prioritize worker safety.
Ion Solar LLC has a troubling history of workplace safety violations dating back to 2018. The company has received OSHA violations from inspections conducted in various locations, including Arvada, Colorado in May 2018; San Antonio, Texas, and Hampton, Virginia in December 2020; Aurora, Colorado, and Gresham, Oregon in September 2022; and Garner, North Carolina in February 2023.
Established in 2013, Ion Solar provides design, installation, inspection, and system maintenance services for residential solar power systems. The company, headquartered in Provo, Utah, operates in 11 states across the nation.
Ion Solar LLC has 15 business days to comply with the citation and penalties, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
This case highlights the critical importance of prioritizing worker safety in the construction industry. As small and midsize business owners, it is essential to ensure compliance with safety regulations and provide necessary protections for employees working at heights or in hazardous environments.
Non-compliance can result in severe penalties, financial losses, and, most importantly, potential harm to workers. Establishing robust safety programs, enforcing safety protocols consistently, and providing appropriate protective equipment are crucial steps in fostering a safe work environment. By prioritizing worker safety, businesses can protect their employees, mitigate risks, and contribute to a culture of safety and well-being.