By Brent I. ClarkJames L. Curtis, Mark A. Lies, IIAdam R. Young, and Craig B. Simonsen

Seyfarth Synopsis: The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Florida Roofing Experts Inc. – a Jacksonville, Florida, roofing contractor, for failing to protect workers from falls at two work sites, with proposed penalties totaling $1,007,717.00.

OSHA initiated the inspections after receiving complaints of employees performing residential re-roofing activities without fall protection.  “Given the employer’s extensive history of violations, pursuant to OSHA’s egregious citation policy, the agency issued eight willful citations for failing to protect employees from fall hazards.”  OSHA Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer explained that “the employer continues to allow employees to work without fall protection, and has made no reasonable effort to eliminate the risk.”  “This employer has an extensive OSHA history with willful, serious, and repeat violations that has demonstrated an egregious disregard for the safety of their workers.”

In addition to the egregious citations, OSHA has placed the company on the Agency’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program list, due to high-gravity willful, egregious violations related to fall hazards.  For instance, OSHA had investigated the company and its predecessor, “19 times within the last seven years, resulting in 42 citations related to improper fall protection, ladder use, and eye protection.”

This case illustrates the need for employers to maintain and enforce safety programs, particularly with regard to key safety hazards and frequently cited regulations like fall protection in construction.  Employers should appeal defensible citations to minimize repeat liabilities and the potential for severe reputational harm.

For more information on this or any related topic please contact the authors, your Seyfarth attorney, or any member of the Seyfarth Workplace Safety and Health (OSHA/MSHA) Team.