Snohomish roofing company facing $374,000 in safety fines

The company is subject to greater scrutiny from the state because of a history of violations.

SNOHOMISH — A Snohomish roofing company with a history of worker safety violations is facing $374,400 in state fines for alleged new problems in Arlington and Woodinville.

After seven previous citations since 2012 by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries, Allways Roofing is subject to greater scrutiny from the state.

“This company has repeatedly exposed its workers to harm and ignored the minimum rules known to prevent fatalities,” said Anne Soiza, assistant director of Labor and Industries’ Division of Occupational Safety and Health, in a news release. “We hope this level of accountability will motivate permanent safety improvements in their operations.”

The latest findings came after neighbors of Allways Roofing construction projects contacted Labor and Industries. Investigators reportedly found multiple serious hazards at three worksites during the summer.

In Woodinville, 11 citations were issued, eight with monetary penalties. One of the most severe violations was that five workers, including a foreman, reportedly were working on a steep-pitched roof without proper fall protection. Another was that workers used a 24-foot extension ladder without extending it high enough above the roofline. A third “willful serious” violation resulted from the employer not having a fall-protection plan onsite and workers not being trained on it. Combined with four other serious violations and one repeat-general violation, the penalties totaled $191,700.

At Arlington sites, the company received seven citations, including two serious and one repeat-general violation, for hazards similar to those fined in Woodinville. Those violations accumulated $182,700 in penalties.

The company’s previous citations include 11 repeat-serious and eight serious violations for hazardous conditions, which totaled $112,000 in fines, according to Labor and Industries.

While in the severe violator program, the state can conduct more inspections until the company demonstrates it is following safety rules and keeping workers safe, according to the news release.

Allways Roofing had 15 working days to appeal after it received the citations Dec. 14. Labor and Industries spokesman Frank Ameduri said the company had not appealed and Friday is the last day to do so.

Fatal falls are an emphasized area of worker safety and are the most common cause of death in construction. A review by the National Institutes of Health found that falls are the leading cause of serious injuries (48%) and fatalities (30%) among construction accidents.

In 2017, 366 workers died from injuries because of falling, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The federal administration considers those deaths preventable with proper planning, equipment and training.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 17 workers in Washington died from falls, slips and trips last year. In Snohomish County, such incidents have been a leading cause of workplace deaths.

Injury claims from falls in construction decreased overall between 2007 and 2016, according to Labor and Industries statistics.

Money from fines is placed in the workers compensation supplemental pension fund, helping injured workers and families of those who have died on the job.

Calls to the company were not returned Thursday afternoon in time for publication.

Ben Watanabe: bwatanabe@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3037. Twitter: @benwatanabe.

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