Four Washington roofing companies fined more than half a million dollars combined for repeatedly putting workers at risk of dangerous falls
October 13, 2021
Tumwater — Four Washington roofing companies are facing more than half a million dollars in fines for allowing workers to roof on top of homes without using fall protection and other safety violation. In each case, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) cited the companies for multiple willful violations.
“Not only did these companies knowingly put their workers at risk, they’ve been caught breaking the same rules before,” said Craig Blackwood, acting assistant director of L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
“Several of the inspections were done on a weekend when the company might have thought they could get away with it,” said Blackwood. “Employee safety is a 24/7 commitment. We don’t just check for compliance Monday through Friday from 9-5.”
The largest violator was America 1st Roofing in Bonney Lake. L&I cited the company Aug. 5, 2021 for seven safety violations including three willful violations for workers not using fall protection, not wearing eye protection while using a nail gun, and for not having a fall protection plan for the specific worksite.
The company was also cited for not reporting an incident in March 2021 when a roofer fell 18 feet from a two-story roof in Olympia and was hospitalized for his injuries.
America 1st has 21 affirmed citations totaling more than $650-thousand for fall protection hazards since 1998, 14 of which were repeat, serious violations. The firm is still making payments on many of the past penalties.
“The requirements are clear. If they’re getting cited this often it means they’re purposefully ignoring the rules to save time and make money,” said Blackwood. “Falls are the most common cause of deaths in construction. A large number of violations like this over an extended period of time can only mean one thing — America’s 1st is not concerned about the health and safety of its workers.”
The companies cited for fall protection violations over the last three months are:
America 1st Roofing (Bonney Lake) — fined $168,039. The company has until Oct. 25 to appeal the citation.
Home Build Construction (Steilacoom) — fined $131,400 Sept. 8 for no fall protection, no eye protection, improper use of a ladder, and other safety violations. The company is part of the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. The company has appealed.
Royal Roofing Inc. (Wenatchee) — fined $108,000 July 2021 for no fall protection. A second inspection in Moses Lake in July for no fall protection resulted in a $27,000 penalty. The company did not appeal either citation. Royal Roofing was cited for nine similar violations from 2013 through 2018. The appeals board affirmed a January 2020 fall protection fine of $10,500. An April 2020 fall protection citation for $27,000 is in appeal.
Camp Roofing (Kent) — fined $98,478 Sept. 23 for no fall protection, improper use of a ladder, and other safety violations. The company was cited for fall protection violations in 2016, 2019, and twice in 2020. The company has until Oct. 15 to appeal the citation.
Preventing falls in construction
Information and training are key to preventing this type of workplace tragedy. L&I developed a digital tool to help employers and workers learn the fall protection rules and other ways to stay safe on the job. If you see roofers working without fall protection, you can report it anonymously online or call L&I, at 1-800-423-7733.
Verify a contractor
Homeowners should do their homework as well. When hiring a company for roofing or any other construction project, make sure the business is registered by using our Verify a Contractor tool. You will see if the company is licensed, bonded and insured. Hiring an unregistered contractor puts you at financial risk if anything goes wrong on your project. The form will also tell you if the company has a history of violating safety rules.