Enforcement and Inspection, Personnel Safety

Over $1 Million in Fall Hazard Penalties Sought by OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited a Jacksonville, Florida, roofing contractor for fall hazards at three construction sites and is seeking $1,007,717 in penalties. OSHA cited Florida Roofing Experts, Inc., owned by Travis Slaughter, under its egregious citation policy with eight willful violations of the fall protection standard.

Roofing fall protection

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Days earlier, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit found Slaughter; Florida Roofing Experts; and its predecessor firm, Great White Construction, Inc., in contempt of court for failing to pay $2,202,049 in penalties for earlier safety and health violations. Slaughter could face federal incarceration if he and his company fail to pay the outstanding penalties plus interest and fees.

“Employers that ignore multiple court orders requiring correction of violations and payment of penalties will be held accountable,” Solicitor of Labor Kate O’Scannlain said in a Department of Labor statement.

“This enforcement action demonstrates that OSHA will utilize every resource available to ensure that safety and health standards are followed to protect workers,” O’Scannlain said.

The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission issued 12 final orders to pay penalties for multiple egregious, willful, and repeat violations for lack of fall protection and other safety and health hazards cited October 2, 2017, and June 5, 2018, at worksites in Florida.

The court held the companies and Slaughter in civil contempt on January 3, 2020.

On January 9, OSHA cited Florida Roofing Experts for four new fall protection violations at a worksite in Middleburg, Florida, and four new violations at two jobsites in Fleming Island, Florida.

New fall protection violations cited included:

  • Four employees at the Middleburg jobsite exposed to a 9-foot (ft) 8-inch (in.) fall hazard to the ground without being attached to fall arrest systems;
  • Three employees at one of the Fleming Island jobsites exposed to an 8-ft fall hazard to the ground who were not attached to fall arrest systems; and
  • Eight employees at another Fleming Island jobsite exposed to fall hazards ranging from 8 ft 3 in. to 16 ft above concrete and grass surfaces and roof openings.

“This employer has an extensive OSHA history with willful, serious, and repeat violations that has demonstrated an egregious disregard for the safety of their workers,” OSHA Atlanta, Georgia, Regional Administrator Kurt Petermeyer said in an agency statement.

“The employer continues to allow employees to work without fall protection and has made no reasonable effort to eliminate the risk,” Petermeyer said.
OSHA has investigated Florida Roofing Experts and its predecessor, Great White Construction, 19 times within the past 7 years, according to the agency, resulting in 42 citations related to improper fall protection, ladder use, and eye protection.

The agency now has placed Florida Roofing Experts in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) due to the high-gravity willful, egregious violations related to fall hazards.

The SVEP replaced an earlier Enhanced Enforcement Program (EEP) deemed ineffective because agency personnel failed to consistently conduct follow-up inspections. Employers in the more narrowly focused SVEP are subject to mandatory follow-up inspections.