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OSHA Fine Hikes Hits Home for FL Roofer

Thursday, September 8, 2016

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A Florida roofing contractor is facing $128,000 in fines after federal officials allegedly found workers performing a roofing job without adequate fall protection, the fourth such citation issued to the company in the past year.

Rogero & Williams, based in Jacksonville, was cited in August by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, according to information released by OSHA Thursday (Sept. 1). The citation alleges one “serious” and one “willful” worker-safety violation on the part of the roofing company.

Eye Protection, Fall Protection

The violations stem from an April 2016 inspection at a jobsite in St. Augustine, where OSHA inspectors allege workers were exposed to hazards involving both eye protection and fall protection.

Roofer nailing shingles
© iStock.com / jens_lambert_photography

According to federal regulations, anyone working more than 6 feet off the ground must be wearing fall-protection equipment.

According to the citation, inspectors witnessed a worker blowing excess debris without wearing eye protection, leading to a $3,368 proposed fine and a “serious” violation.

The bulk of the fines, though, come from a “willful” violation involving lack of fall protection. OSHA inspectors allege that workers on the site were not wearing fall protection while shingling a roof with a 6:12 pitch at 8 feet off the ground. According to federal regulations, anyone working more than 6 feet off the ground must be wearing fall-protection equipment.

New Maximum Fine

The willful violation comes with a proposed price tag of $124,709. That’s the maximum fine allowed under OSHA’s new fine structure, which went into effect at the beginning of August. Prior to the increase, a willful violation could carry a price tag of no more than $70,000. The jump was the first adjustment in OSHA maximum fines since 1990.

Roof
© iStock.com / brizmaker

The latest fall-protection violation issued by OSHA to Rogero & Williams is the fourth such citation issued to the company in the past year.

Over the past year, Rogero & Williams was cited three other times, all for violations involving fall protection. A serious violation issued in September 2015 was reduced to a $2,520 fine in an informal settlement after the firm contested the citation.

Four Citations in 12 Months

In January, the contractor was hit with two different citations: One that carried a $6,500 fine for two serious violations, and another with a $9,300 fine for one serious and one repeat violation. Those citations are both currently being contested by the company, according to OSHA’s online enforcement records.

In October 2015, OSHA’s Region 4 office, which covers the southeastern U.S., renewed an enforcement initiative called a Regional Emphasis Program, which focuses on fall hazards in construction. Falls, the agency notes, are the most prevalent cause of construction fatalities in Region 4.

Rogero & Williams is described on its website as “family-owned and operated,” with two offices in Florida as well as a “Midwest office.” A request for comment was not immediately returned on Wednesday (Sept. 7).

'No Deadline So Urgent'

OSHA officials emphasized the repeat nature of the violations in describing the urgency of the matter.

"No deadline is so urgent that Rogero & Williams’ management cannot follow proper safety procedures to conduct their work in a safe manner," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville. "After being cited for the fourth time in a year, this employer must take action and stop endangering the lives of workers by allowing them to work from elevated heights without fall protection."

   

Tagged categories: Enforcement; Fall protection; OSHA; Roofing contractors; Safety; Violations

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