SEATTLE – A Snohomish County construction company owner is facing nearly $400,000 in fines for allowing crew members to work more than 26 feet above the ground without fall protection—the same violation he’s been cited and fined for 15 times in the past.
When Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) inspectors arrived in August at the Seattle site of a two-story home being framed by Genesis Framing Construction, they found one worker using a hand-made scaffold and another walking on a steep roof without fall protection, both being watched by the jobsite foreman.
Inspectors also found crewmembers working near unguarded wall openings more than 15 feet above the ground.
A review of Genesis Framing Construction’s inspection history found that Owner Cecilio Solorio has dozens of previous willful and repeat fall protection violations while operating under company names Chilos Builders and Solorio’s Framing.
The new infractions resulted in L&I recently citing Genesis Framing Construction for nine violations. The company faces $396,847.00 in fines.
“Business owners like Mr. Solorio, who knowingly and repeatedly put workers at risk, are the reason L&I focuses greater scrutiny on severe and repeat violators. As long as workers need protection from employers who disregard their safety, we’ll be there,” said Craig Blackwood, assistant director for L&I’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).
The Severe Violator Enforcement Program concentrates DOSH enforcement resources on inspecting employers like Solorio who have shown indifference to their obligations to keep workers safe by committing willful, repeated, or failure-to-fix violations. Enforcement actions for severe violator cases may include more frequent inspections of the business and any other location in the corporation. L&I can send the most severe cases to the state prosecuting attorney that could lead to criminal charges.
Preventing falls in construction
Information and training are key to preventing this type of workplace violation, which can lead to tragedy. L&I has a fall protection digital tool to help employers and workers learn fall protection rules and other ways to stay safe on the job. If you see roofers working without fall protection, you can report it anonymously online or call L&I, 800-423-7733.
Verify a contractor
Homeowners should do their homework as well. When hiring a construction company, use L&I’s Verify a Contractor tool to make sure the business is registered. They can see if the company is licensed, bonded, and insured. Hiring an unregistered contractor puts homeowners at financial risk if anything goes wrong on the project. There’s also information regarding any history the company may have of violating safety rules.