A Homestead, FL, roofing contractor is facing a $152,145 Occupational Safety and Health Administration fine, as well as one willful and one repeated safety violation, for a job site accident that caused serious injury to one of its employees on his first day of work, the agency reported in a press release.
OSHA investigators said that a gust of wind caught a piece of plywood the worker was carrying, while working on a roof sheathing project for Fast Carpentry Services, causing him to fall 14 feet and partially impale himself on a metal fence post.
- Both the willful and repeated citations were for failing to provide adequate fall protection and training. This, the agency said, qualifies Fast for its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which allows increased monitoring of companies that OSHA believes are particularly unsafe in their work practices.
Opportunities to reduce fall-related injuries are always on OSHA's radar. The organization is utilizing a new fine and penalty structure, raising the maximum fee for civil penalties by 78% as of August in an effort to send a message to violators. It also it holds an annual National Safety Stand-Down week, during which OSHA encourages construction companies to provide employee training on fall protection rules.
But threats of increased fines and worker injuries aren't enough to stop some contractors from disobeying regulations. For example, this month, OSHA found that another Florida contractor, Chris Sawdo Construction, put employees at risk when it failed to provide fall protection for them even though they were working at heights of 20 feet. OSHA said it had cited Sawdo six times since 2004.
The agency also recently went after homebuilder D.R. Horton, alleging that the company did not ensure that one of its subcontractors, Garcia Carpentry, was providing proper fall protection on one of Horton's Jacksonville, FL–area projects. OSHA cited both companies a total of $107,000, with the biggest share ($68,591) going to D.R. Horton.