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Aaron
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35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can anyone throw some suggestions my way about safety with OSHA? I live in central Illinois. in my spare time on the weekends for the last month and a half, I have been helping some people from my church with their houses that were either damaged or destroyed by the tornado that hit Washington.

A lot of volunteers that are in the trades are getting together Monday and were going to start framing a house for a family that was terribly under-insured. The problem is that OSHA has been handing out fines.... even to home owners that have relatives helping them.

When I was in school, I got my OSHA 30 hour card. I know we need harnesses, hard hats, boots, good electrical cords and tools, and proper ladders, scaffolding, etc. Is there anything else I am missing? I would hate for any of us to get fines just for volunteering.

A little background on me.... I mostly do remodeling and foundations/concrete work. I havent done production framing on homes since I was in college so if anyone has any suggestions, it would be appreciated. I'm currently going thru my old manual now.
 

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stacker of sticks
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8,502 Posts
I'm pretty sure they can't do chit if it's just a bunch of people working on a friends house. It's not there occupation and if for some reason I got a fine for that I would fight it to my death
 

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Aaron
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35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I was thinking the exact same thing. The home owner that I know got a fine for himself, his brother-in-law, and a couple of his friends for being on their roof without being tied off. I'm almost positive I remember reading that you couldn't get in trouble on your own house unless you are acting as a business but I can not find it.
 

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Aaron
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35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I do not think that is legal. Is the church a 503c? Was any compensation given?

It is a 503(c). No compensation will be given whatsoever, unless you count lunch and waters. We are supplying our time, tools, nails, etc. Insurance was enough to cover materials for the most part. Some things are being donated.
 

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Aaron
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35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I agree about working safely... I'm worried about the other rules that they can enforce if they say that we are acting as a business. i.e. must have a toilet on site, fire extinguishers, a safety plan, etc.

Me and the other two that will be on the roof own are own fall arrest gear so that won't be a problem... I just hate the thought of getting a violation for something as simple as not having ear protection or caution tape out.

I appreciate the replies. The house should go up fairly quickly. Just a ranch that is getting trusses. Its my first time working with trusses so at least I'll learn something new.
 

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I was thinking the exact same thing. The home owner that I know got a fine for himself, his brother-in-law, and a couple of his friends for being on their roof without being tied off. I'm almost positive I remember reading that you couldn't get in trouble on your own house unless you are acting as a business but I can not find it.
Impossible
 

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Aaron
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35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I will update Monday when I am in town. I do personally know one man that got his fine. He posted a picture of it on Facebook. It was $1100. His day job is in logistics at Caterpillar. Shows what happens when you lend a helping hand sometimes :thumbup: :clap:
 

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There is more to the story than you know then. OSHA has jurisdiction only when employees are involved.

It's that simple
"Employee" includes paying the BIL or the buddies a few hundred bucks cash to help out. It doesn't need to be a business. Most OSHA inspectors and most contractors could walk on a site and figure out whether someone was getting paid to be there.

Some states have state OSHA laws that extend rules to some volunteers - volunteer fire departments, for example. But a federal OSHA inspector wouldn't have anything to do with that.
 

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robcon said:
I know we need harnesses, hard hats, boots, good electrical cords and tools, and proper ladders, scaffolding, etc. Is there anything else I am missing?
You're missing about 100 pages of stuff. Does Illinois have their own state requirements? Call OSHA in your state and ask them, you need the book with all the rules. In Washington we use the WAC, generally speaking, improper fall protection will get you the biggest fines.
 

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Repair/Remodeling Tech.
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Maybe it's ME that's the a**hole here, but if I was on my roof (or a buddy's, or anyone's...as long as I wasn't being paid) and OSHA came and started talking to me, my first words would be "get off this PRIVATE property right now, you are trespassing...none of us are being paid....so goodbye"

If they don't leave, call the police and have them arrested for trespassing.

Gov't 'officials' sometimes get it in their head that they are in charge of everything...and it's simply not true.
 

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"Employee" includes paying the BIL or the buddies a few hundred bucks cash to help out. It doesn't need to be a business. Most OSHA inspectors and most contractors could walk on a site and figure out whether someone was getting paid to be there.

Some states have state OSHA laws that extend rules to some volunteers - volunteer fire departments, for example. But a federal OSHA inspector wouldn't have anything to do with that.
I just flat out don't believe the story as the OP has related it to us.
 

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Aaron
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35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I just flat out don't believe the story as the OP has related it to us.
I'm not sure why you think a person would come on to an internet forum and post a false story, at the same time asking for a few pointers on what to look for.

Thank you to everyone that had something useful to suggest. Ill update when we are out there with some pictures.
 
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