This was a case of safety inspectors seeing a picture in the newspaper of a fire inspector doing his job and not liking what they were seeing.
Toby Rey, a veteran firefighter, has spent the last six years in the fire marshal's office in Santa Rosa, California. One part of his job, according to The Press-Democrat, is "to ensure solar panels on roofs comply with setbacks designed to keep firefighters safe."
In August, a picture of Rey was made the front page of The Press Democrat to help illustrate a story looking at conflicts that arise as Rey and others enforce the new solar panel rules (here's the August article).
When folks from Cal-OSHA saw the picture they noticed that Rey was 24-feet off the ground on the roof with no safety equipment. They issued the fire department a $2700 fine that Rey thinks is ridiculous and his bosses are trying to deal with.
When firefighters fight fires, they are exempt from Cal-OSHA rules regarding heights and other risk inherent in doing their jobs, said Dean Frye, a Cal-OSHA spokesman. But inspections fall under the same requirements that apply to anyone doing construction.
In this case, a harness or other fall protection measure has to be worn by employees “whose work exposes them to falling in excess of 7½ feet from the perimeter of a structure” or other unprotected edges or steep slopes, according to the code.
Rey said he knows what kinds of roof surfaces to avoid, noting he did not go on a tile roof that same day because of the risk of slipping.
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Also on STATter911 …
- Is firing a veteran firefighter for incompetence that unusual? Union in Austin, TX seems to think so. – June 29, 2012
- Crane collapse goes to fourth-alarm in Manhattan. Buildings evacuated. – October 29, 2012
- Raw video: Interior attack without SCBA or PPE & no rehab needed. The future of firefighting? – June 21, 2013
- Detroit stories: Report claims 21 minute response time to house fire. Also, fire inspections years behind. – January 21, 2013
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