A Connecticut remodeling contractor that employed a roofer who fell to his death in February faces $77,400 in federal fines for exposing workers to fall hazards at three work sites.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited JC Silva Remodeling Services LLC, of Bridgeport, CT, for two willful and nine serious violations of workplace safety standards following inspections at company job sites.
Barbara Altieri / Active Rain
|The worker fell while installing and removing skylights at the Sunwood Condominiums in Shelton, CT.|
The company could not be reached for comment.
An OSHA spokesperson confirmed that the citations were delivered, but the company has not yet responded to the agency. It has 15 days to do so.
Various reports, however, indicate that the Department of Labor’s Wage and Workplace Standards Division is currently searching for Julio Da Silva, the named agent for the company listed on the secretary of state’s website.
‘This Death was Needless’
The first inspection followed the death of Francisco Amaral, 46, of Bridgeport, who plunged 39 feet while installing and removing skylights Feb. 14 at the Sunwood Condominiums in Shelton, CT. OSHA was called to the scene by police.
“This death was needless,” said Robert Kowalski, OSHA’s area director in Bridgeport. “Especially disturbing is the employer’s recurring failure to adequately protect its workers against the number-one killer in construction work, even after a fall claimed the life of one of its employees.”
The investigation found that workers had received neither fall protection, such as guardrails or lifelines, nor training to recognize fall hazards.
Workers were exposed to falls of 30-40 feet from the roof, OSHA said. An additional fall hazard stemmed from the use of a damaged ladder to access the roof.
The two alleged violations, considered serious, carry fines totaling $6,600.
According to the Connecticut Post, the work at the condominium complex was halted after Amaral’s death, but resumed with JC Silva Remodeling Services doing the work.
The 168-unit condominium complex is under a major renovation effort, including new roof installation.
Alleged Violations Continue
Four months later, however, in inspecting another JC Silva worksite in Norwalk, OSHA found that the company was exposing workers to falls of up to 20 feet from a roof and a scaffold due to a lack of fall protection.
Additional fall hazards cited after the June 18 inspection stemmed from using a damaged ladder to support the scaffolding, using a ladder that did not extend at least three feet above the roof’s edge to ensure stability, and failing to inspect the scaffold for defects.
These alleged violations, included four “serious” and two “willful” and carry $63,600 in fines.
Willful violations are OSHA’s highest level of infraction, reserved for the most flagrant, dangerous violations.
Back at the Condo Site
On June 27, OSHA inspectors visited the Sunwood worksite again and discovered an employee installing shingles on the roof 18 feet above the ground without adequate fall protection.
“In this case, the employee was wearing a safety harness and lifeline, but the lifeline was inadequately anchored to the roof; and at 25 feet, it was too long to prevent the employee from striking the ground if he were to fall,” OSHA noted.
The alleged penalties for three serious violations at the site totaled $7,200.
The second investigation at Sunwood occurred around the same time the Department of Labor issued a stop-work order at the site because the company didn’t carry worker’s compensation insurance for its employees and misclassified its workers as independent contractors, according to the Connecticut Post.
After the DOL halted the work, the condo owner said another company was hired to finish the job, the Connecticut Post said.
Severe Violator Enforcement
OSHA reports that it has placed JC Silva Remodeling Services in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which mandates targeted follow-up inspections to ensure compliance with the law.
The program focuses on “recalcitrant employers that endanger workers by committing willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.”