Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor announced proposed fines against a roofing contractor and a residential home builder for an incident last June after an Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigator witnessed employees installing roofing membrane on the roofs of garages without fall protection.

In the Jan. 4 Labor Dept. news release, OSHA cited All Phase Roofing of Lake Park, Fla., for failing to provide fall protection for workers while working on the attached garages in a development in Boca Raton, Fla., about 30 minutes south of West Palm Beach. 

The agency cited All Phase Roofing with three repeat violations for not “utilizing fall protection, failing to have a competent person provide an inspection of a worksite to ensure employees use the proper safety equipment before work begins, and allowing employees to perform roofing work before training them to recognize hazards and the proper use of fall protection equipment.”

The agency also cited All Phase Roofing with three serious violations for “allowing workers to use an interior staircase not equipped with a stair rail at the open edge, allowing workers to use the fly section of an extension ladder to access a roof, and for not having a competent person train workers on the proper use, set up and hazards associated with ladders.”

OSHA proposed $159,117 in penalties for All Phase Roofing. 

Furthermore, OSHA cited Lennar Homes with one serious violation for failing to “have a competent person inspect the worksite to ensure employees have the proper safety equipment and that all stairwells inside the structure have stair rails before they are used.” 

The agency proposed $8,929 in penalties for Lennar Homes. 

“Falls in construction [remain] the number one killer of workers, and it is irresponsible for All Phase Roofing to allow its employees to work on roofs unprotected,” Condell Eastmond, OSHA area office director in Fort Lauderdale, said in the statement. 

“These types of hazards are well known, yet we still find employers subjecting their workers to dangerous and life-threatening work conditions,” Eastmond continued, adding, “General contractors also have a responsibility, as Lennar Homes did here, to take the necessary steps to ensure that its subcontractors maintain safe worksites.”

Falls in construction continue to be a leading cause of work-related fatalities. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 700 deaths in 2022 due to falls to lower levels, a 2.9 percent increase from 680 fatalities the year before.