Federal safety regulators have hit a Jacksonville, Fla.-area construction company with nearly $200,000 in penalties for “willfully exposing” workers to hazards that could easily lead to serious injury and death.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) said it conducted two separate inspections of Chris Sawdo Construction job sites in Northeast Florida – one in St. Augustine and another in St. John’s. Inspectors at the job sites observed construction workers installing roofing sheathing and doing other roofing work without any protection from falls. The observations prompted formal inspections under the agency’s Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction.
The inspections resulted in four major violations, including two willful violations, meaning the company acted with purposeful disregard or plain difference to employee safety, one serious, and one repeat violation.
OSHA said that Chris Sawdo Construction required workers to work at heights of up to 20 feet without the proper fall protections in place. As it is, construction work is already among the most dangerous jobs in the U.S., but adding blatant safety violations on top of already dangerous works puts workers at an unreasonable risk of injury and death.
The other violations related to the company’s failure to sufficiently extend the top of the roof access ladder above the landing surface and failure to set up the roof access ladder at a safe angle. Both of those violations created additional fall hazards.
OSHA noted that Chris Sawdo Construction has been cited for willful, repeat, and serious safety violations six times since 2004 for its failure to provide workers with fall protections and poor ladder safety.
“Chris Sawdo Construction continues to willfully ignore OSHA’s fall protection standards, despite an extensive OSHA history, being suspended as a subcontractor by homebuilders and being in the residential construction industry for 20 years,” said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA’s area director in Jacksonville. “The employer must take immediate action to eliminate putting workers at risk of serious injury or death.”
Proposed penalties for the violations totaled $199,107.