SNOHOMISH — The state has slapped a Snohomish roofing company with yet another fine for repeatedly putting workers’ lives in danger.
The state Department of Labor and Industries announced Tuesday it fined Allways Roofing $425,000.
That totals about $2 million for the Snohomish company, noted Craig Blackwood, assistant director of the department’s division of occupational safety and health, in a news release.
“We won’t give up on our efforts to protect these workers no matter how many times we have to inspect, cite, and fine the company,” he said in the statement.
Allways Roofing did not immediately respond to a phone call or email seeking comment Wednesday. The company is appealing.
According to the news release, state inspectors found seven new safety violations, including two “egregious, willful, severe violations.”
The inspectors reportedly observed Allways Roofing employees didn’t have enough eye protection while using nail guns at a Snohomish home. Other citations were for lack of fall protection, failure to use brackets as tie-off points and improper ladder use.
Allways Roofing has had at least seven serious injuries on its job sites, according to the news release. Five were from falls. Two were eye injuries from nail guns.
The company is on the state agency’s “Severe Violators Enforcement Program,” meaning it faces more intense scrutiny.
While L&I can’t close down a business, the department hopes the repeated fines will push companies into compliance, spokesperson Dina Lorraine said in an email.
“Unfortunately, sometimes that does not happen,” she said.
Beyond fines, L&I could order a business to stop working a particular job until safety violations are corrected. However, companies could install, for example, fall protection for the day an inspector is there and then take it off when they leave, Lorraine noted. And those orders don’t cover all of a company’s job sites, only the one where the inspector caught the violation.
Two other “repeat offenders” were also fined, Blackwood noted. Roofing companies in Tukwila and Kirkland were assessed over $340,000 for safety violations.
“Falls are the most common cause of death in construction,” Blackwood said in the statement. “If this continues, it’s just a matter of time before another injury or fatality occurs at one of these companies. L&I is working diligently to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
In the past two years, there have been 11 fatal falls for Washington construction workers, Lorraine said. Fall-related deaths account for about one-third of all construction deaths statewide.
In 2018, there were 320 fatal falls on job sites across the country, according to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Organization. The agency argues the deaths are preventable with proper planning, equipment and training.
Allways Roofing’s owner, Richard Ovak, writes on the company website, “It’s time to separate the amateurs from the professionals.”
Ovak writes: “No shortcuts, no secrets, only honest friendly service.”