Regulators in Washington State have cited J & I Construction for 13 safety violations, allegedly for exposing workers to falls and other hazards that are considered and willful and serious. That’s according to EHS Today, which says that the penalties would total $203,420.
A serious violation involves one where there is a substantial probability of a worker’s death or serious injury as a result of hazardous condition. A willful violation is one in which there is intentional disregard of a hazard or a rule.
The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries named three willful violations, each with a penalty of $42,000, were for not providing proper fall protection to three employees who were working on the top edge of a wall nearly 20 feet off the ground. The company has been cited two other times for the same issue.
“Seven construction workers fell to their deaths last year in our state,” said Anne Soiza, assistant director for L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, in a news release. “Falls continue to be the leading cause of construction worker deaths and hospitalizations, and yet they are completely preventable by using proper fall protection and following safe work practices.”
The company was cited for two additional repeat-serious violations for not having railings on open-sided stairs to protect employees from falls, and for not ensuring that employees wore hard hats where there was a danger of flying or falling object, it adds. It was also cited for a serious violation for not having safety springs on nail guns to protect against accidental discharges.
The release goes on to say that the employer was cited for a third-time repeat-general violation with a $700 penalty for not conducting walk-around safety inspections, and a fourth-time repeat-general violation with a $1,120 penalty because no one onsite had a valid first-aid card. L&I also cited the company for two general violations that did not include monetary penalties.
The inspection began in May when an L&I employee saw three workers exposed to fall hazards while installing trusses, it says.
As a result of the willful and repeat-serious violations, Washington regulators say that J & I Construction is now considered a severe violator and will be subject to follow-up inspections to determine if the conditions still exist in the future.
The company has 15 business days to appeal the citation.