March 27, 2015
Jacksonville, Florida, roofing contractor ignores fact
that fall protection can be the difference between life and death
Great White Construction disregards hazards again; faces $184K in penalties
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Since 2013, 294 workers have been killed by falls, the leading cause of death in the construction trade. These incidents can often be prevented when employers use proper safety protections. Unfortunately for its employees, Great White Construction Inc. has repeatedly put the safety of its workers at risk, the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspectors found.
In September and October 2014, Great White employees were seen working on roofs at two job sites in Jacksonville without fall protection. The contractor received six citations for safety violations at the sites on Queensway Drive and Melissa Ray Drive, the latest in its history of exposing its workers to fall hazards. Proposed penalties total $184,000.
"The crew leader told the inspector on-site that he was given proper equipment, training and knew the regulations, but chose to ignore them," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville. "An employer cannot pick and choose when to follow safety standards, and OSHA will continue to cite violations and issue penalties when employers fail in their responsibility to protect workers."
Since 2012, OSHA has inspected Great White sites five times and issued multiple citations for repeated and serious violations of residential fall protection and other safety standards. OSHA issued two willful citations to the contractor for letting employees work on roofs at heights of 8 and 12 feet without fall protection. A willful violation is one committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirement, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Repeated violations were issued for not ensuring that workers wore eye protection, which exposed them to eye injuries from flying debris or nails. Two other violations also were cited for unsafe wiring and not training workers how to use fall protection systems. A repeated violation exists when an employer has been cited previously for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The company received citations for similar violations in 2012 and 2013 at job sites in Florida.
View the current citations at:
To increase awareness of fall prevention, ensure compliance and target enforcement activities to reduce injuries and fatalities, OSHA has created a Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction*.
OSHA has also created a fall prevention Web page at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.
Headquartered in Jacksonville, Great White is a contractor that specializes in residential and commercial roofing. The company employs approximately 110 workers nationwide.
The contractor has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed 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.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA's toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency's Jacksonville Area Office at 904-232-2895.
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Release Number: 15-422-ATL (90)
U.S. Department of Labor news materials are accessible at http://www.dol.gov. The department's Reasonable Accommodation Resource Center converts departmental information and documents into alternative formats, which include Braille and large print. For alternative format requests, please contact the department at (202) 693-7828 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (federal relay).
*Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Office of Communications at 202-693-1999 for assistance accessing PDF materials.