A St. Louis-based roofing contractor is facing $267,332 in penalties from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after inspectors say the company didn't protect its workers from potentially fatal falls.

According to a Department of Labor press release, federal workplace safety inspectors found H R Vasquez Construction LLC, a Missouri roofing contractor, observed roofers with the company operating without required fall protection equipment at five residential worksites in Wentzville, Mo., on Oct. 25, 27, 30, Nov. 2 and Nov. 28, 2023.

Specifically, OSHA reports the company did not provide employees with fall protection as they worked at heights greater than six feet and failed to ensure workers using pneumatic nail guns wore personal eye and face protective equipment. The investigation states H R Vasquez Construction also allowed the improper use of ladders, had not developed a written hazard communication program and did not begin or maintain an accident prevention program. 

In all, OSHA cited the company for 13 violations – nine repeat, three serious and one other-than-serious – and assessed $267,332 in proposed penalties.

Since 2021, the agency has cited the contractor seven times for putting roofing workers in danger. The agency first identified three serious violations related to a lack of required fall protection by H R Vasquez Construction in October 2021 at a Ballwin, Mo. work site. These were addressed in an informal settlement for a total of $6,713 in penalties.

Another inspection in Chesterfield, Mo., in June 2022 led OSHA to cite the company for two repeat violations. These were addressed in an informal settlement for a total of $12,121 in penalties.

“OSHA repeatedly finds roofing contractors like H R Vasquez Construction ignoring federal safety regulations and exposing workers to the construction industry’s deadliest hazard,” said OSHA Area Director Bill McDonald in St. Louis. “Falls from heights often lead to permanent or fatal injuries which is why these regulations must be taken seriously. There is no excuse for putting profit before people.” 

In 2022, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 1,069 construction workers died on the job. Of those deaths, 395 were related to falls from elevation. 

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

View the citation here.