SNOHOMISH, Wash. — A Snohomish, Wash. roofing company is facing more than $1.2 million in fines for repeatedly disregarding safety rules related to fall protection.
According to a release from the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), the agency inspected Allways Roofing at three job sites in Snohomish and one in Lake Stevens between Dec. 2020 and March 2021 in response to complaints that workers roofing on top of homes had no protection from falls.
Inspectors found 12 willful serious violations, including employees engaged in roofing work on a steep pitch roof with no fall protection installed, ladders not set up or used correctly, and workers not wearing eye protection while using pneumatic nail guns. All but one of the 12 violations were repeats of previous safety issues at the company's job sites.
Nine general violations were found, including the company not holding safety meetings or documenting safety inspections. The total fines are $1,242,807.
"We hope these substantial fines will be the wake-up call that finally motivates Allways Roofing to keep their people safe, before one of their workers is killed," said Craig Blackwood, acting assistant director of L&I's Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
Multiple factors figure into the large fine, including the number of workers employed by the company, the seriousness of the violations, and whether the company has a history of safety violations. In the case of Allways Roofing, repeat violations, which have an increasing multiplier as the number of repeats increases, is the biggest reason for he seven-figure fine.
"This isn't a case of the company not knowing what the rules are. They've blatantly chosen to ignore them, putting their workers at serious risk," Blackwood said.
In an article from The Daily Herald, representatives from Allways Roofing said they are appealing the safety violations.
L&I states it previously cited Allways Roofing for more than a dozen safety violations since 2010. In January 2020, Allways Roofing received a fine of nearly $375,000 for six willful, six serious, and two repeat-general violations for safety hazards found at three Woodinville and Arlington work sites. The company is in the agency's Severe Violator Program.
Allways Roofing has had at least four injury claims involving falls from steep roofs resulting in serious injuries and hospitalizations.
"This isn't a case of the company not knowing what the rules are. They've blatantly chosen to ignore them, putting their workers at serious risk," said Blackwood.
Allways Roofing has until June 21 to appeal the citations. Money from fines is placed in the workers compensation supplemental pension fund, helping injured workers and families of those who have died on the job.
Falls are the most common cause of death in construction. In 2020, four workers in Washington died after falls from a roof, a ladder and while performing other construction work.