By Chris Marr
A Florida roofing company faces an exceptional $1.5 million in penalties for its repeated “indifference” to worker safety, the Labor Department said.
Great White Construction, Inc., based in Jacksonville, Fla., was cited for 11 willful violations following two inspections, all related to protecting roofing workers from falls, the Labor Department announced Aug. 9. The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which issued the citations on Aug. 1, also cited the company for three repeat violations for workers not wearing eye protection while using nail guns and for improper ladder usage.
The Labor Department pointed to “the employer’s extensive prior history of violations and OSHA’s egregious citation policy” as justification for the significant citations and fines.
“In the past five years, Great White Construction’s series of willful, serious, and repeat violations has demonstrated indifference towards the safety of their employees,” OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer said in an Aug. 9 statement. “The company allowed their employees to work without fall protection and made no reasonable effort to eliminate the hazard.”
Company executives didn’t immediately return calls for comment to Bloomberg BNA on Aug. 9.
The citations stem from OSHA inspections at two construction sites in St. Augustine, Fla., in February. The company specializes in residential and commercial roofing work and employs about 150 people, according to the Labor Department.
For each inspection, OSHA cited the company for a separate willful violation for each worker seen working on a roof about 20 feet off the ground without being attached to a safety harness, and the agency proposed fines of $126,749 for each of the willful citations.
OSHA has investigated the company 12 times since 2012 and issued 22 citations for similar violations.
The company has 15 days from receiving the citations to contest them, abate the safety violations, or contact OSHA staff for a meeting.
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