With the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) declaring fall hazards as the top most cited violation of 2019, there were bound to be some pretty steep penalties.
As we head into 2020, RC is taking a look at 10 of the biggest and worst OSHA penalties in 2019. For this list, RC looked at the amount of penalties OSHA issued to the contractor as well as any other consequences related to the ensuing incidents.
Unsurprisingly, all of the citations involved fall hazards, but unfortunately, some of those violations resulted in far more dire costs than a monetary fee.
10. Davila Construction – Missouri
Davila Construction in St. Louis received $205,098 in penalties for exposing employees to fall hazards at three separate Missouri jobsites. The violations included failing to provide fall protection for workers; not training employees on fall safety hazards, procedures and the use of ladders; and not using protective equipment when using nail guns.
OSHA alleged that the company also violated electrical safety standards and allowed for the operation of engines in close proximity to a five-gallon gas can.
9. Five Star Roofing Systems – Indiana
Five Star Roofing Systems, based in Hartford City, Ind., exposed employees to fall hazards while performing roofing work at a commercial building in Lake Barrington, Ill. According to OSHA, the $220,249 in penalties it received were due to the roofing contractor’s willful and repeated safety violations, including improper use of warning lines and failing to designate a safety monitor.
8. Altogether Roofing – Ohio
This year was not the first time OSHA has fined Altogether Roofing in Martin, Ohio. Since 2008, the roofing contractor has been fined five times for fall protection violations. For once again exposing employees to fall hazards at jobsites in Toledo and Perrysburg, Ohio, it received $247,544 in penalties.
The penalties also included violations for unsafe ladder use and failing to develop an accident prevention program.
7. Crown Roofing – Florida
Like the previous entry on this list, Crown Roofing is no stranger to receiving OSHA penalties. According to OSHA, the roofing contractor, located in Sarasota, Fla., has been inspected 17 times in the past five years, with 11 of those inspections resulting in citations for violating fall protection standards.
The most recent inspections took place in August and October 2018, resulting in $265,196 in penalties issued in 2019 for not using fall protection on a sloped roof with a pitch of 6:12 in Port St. Lucie, Fla., and a sloped roof with a pitch of 7:12 in Naples, Fla.
6. Brad McDonald Roofing & Construction – Florida
For exposing employees to fall hazards at two Florida construction sites in Lutz and Palmetto, Brad McDonald Roofing & Construction received $274,215 in penalties from OSHA. This also included violations for allowing workers to operate nail guns without the use of eye protection.
The agency inspected the New Port Richey, Fla.-based company nine times since 2014, each resulting in citations for violating OSHA’s residential fall protection standards. This included an incident in February 2019 where three employees were working on a house with a 5:12 pitch roof without fall protection.
5. Eastern Contractors – New Jersey
Sadly, the top five entries for 2019 demonstrate the fatal consequences of not using proper fall safety equipment.
For instance, OSHA initiated an investigation in October 2018 after the Paterson Police Department in New Jersey told the agency that an Eastern Contractors employee identified as Joseph Perillo fell to his death during roof removal. The agency said Perillo, 56, fell from a height of roughly 17 feet and was not using a fall protection system.
Following the investigation, the contractor, located in Woodland Park, N.J., was hit with $19,890 in penalties.
4. TarHeel Corp. – Florida
Following a fatal fall incident, TarHeel Corp. was fined $32,013 for failing to provide employees with fall protection systems while they performed roofing activities as well as failing to train them on using such systems.
On Aug. 31, 2018, Higinio Romero was working with TarHeel Corp. on a condo building at Forest Glen Golf & Country Club. Reports indicate Romero, 37, was wearing a safety harness, but had unclipped it to use a ladder and slipped off the edge of the roof. He died as a result of his injuries.
3. Franklin County Construction – Missouri
OSHA investigated this New Haven, Mo.-based contractor following reports of an employee who suffered fatal fall injuries when a roof truss collapsed at an incident on Oct. 1, 2018. The employee was identified as Mark “Markie” Hartzell, 28, a journeyman for Franklin County Construction.
The fines, reported in January 2019, totaled $56,910 for failing to ensure anchorage points and five serious safety violations for failing to protect workers from structural collapse and fall hazards.
“Falls are the leading cause of death for construction workers but they can be prevented when required safety measures are taken,” said St. Louis OSHA Area Director Bill McDonald.
2. Jim Coon Construction – Ohio
Jim Coon, owner of Jim Coon Construction in Akron, Ohio, was sentenced in September 2019 to three years in prison after pleading guilty to involuntary manslaughter regarding the death of Gerardo “Jerry” Juarez. The court ordered Coon to pay $303,152 in restitution to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.
The court’s action followed an investigation held by OSHA. In November 2017, Juarez, 38, was working on a third-story roof when he fell to his death. OSHA inspectors found that the contractor failed to install fall protection systems that could’ve prevented Juarez’s death.
“This case should serve as a reminder to all employers to comply with their legal obligation to provide required safety equipment, and protect employees on jobsites,” said Loren Sweatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health.
1. Purvis Home Improvement Co. – Maine
Topping the list is Purvis Home Improvement Co., based in Saco, Maine. Following the death of Alan Loignon due to a fall, the contractor has amassed more than $2 million in penalties from OSHA.
In December 2018, Loignon, 30, was reportedly working as a subcontracted roofer at a house in Portland, Maine. When Loignon climbed down a ladder onto scaffolding, he fell 21 feet to his death.
OSHA inspected and cited the contractor for safety violations seven times in the past seven years.
OSHA cited Purvis in June 2019 with 17 violations that totaled $1.8 million in penalties, saying inspectors found that Purvis knowingly failed to ensure the use of fall protection by his employees at the Portland jobsite and a separate site in Old Orchard Beach, Maine.
In December 2019, OSHA revealed it was adding another $278,456 in penalties following an inspection held in May 2019 where it found three employees working on a residential roof without fall protection.
Shawn Purvis, owner of Purvis Home Improvement, is facing charges of workplace manslaughter and manslaughter. He could be sentenced to a maximum of five years and a $5,000 fine for workplace manslaughter. If convicted of manslaughter, he could face as much as 30 years in prison and $50,000 in fines.