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Fall hazards net roofing contractor over $1.5 million in OSHA fines

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A Florida roofing contractor faces penalties of more than $1.5 million for 14 workplace safety violations and has been placed in the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program due to high-gravity, willful, egregious violations related to fall hazards, the agency said Wednesday.

Jacksonville, Florida-based Great White Construction Inc. was cited for failing to protect workers from risks of dangerous falls and other hazards at two work sites in St. Augustine, Florida, in February, OSHA said in a statement.

Inspectors observed employees removing shingles and plywood sheeting from the roof of a multistory residential building without the use of proper fall protection equipment, and though they wore harnesses, they were not tied off to rope grabs and roof anchors, according to the statement.

A second inspection was initiated under OSHA’s regional enforcement program for falls in construction when employees at a separate site were observed working under similar conditions, the agency said.

OSHA said the company has an “extensive prior history of violations,” which resulted in 11 separate willful citations for failing to protect employees from fall hazards, and three repeat violations for failing to ensure employees used eye protection while operating nail guns and for ladders used to access roof sites. OSHA said it has investigated the company 12 times since 2012, resulting in 22 citations related to improper fall protection, ladder safety and eye protection.

“In the past five years, Great White Construction’s series of willful, serious and repeat violations has demonstrated indifference towards the safety of their employees,” said Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA’s regional administrator in Atlanta. “The company allowed their employees to work without fall protection and made no reasonable effort to eliminate the hazard.”

Representatives for the company were not immediately available to comment.