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$200K+ Fine Caps Years of Fall Cases

Monday, May 6, 2013

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Florida's largest residential roofing contractor is facing egregious federal safety violations and $213,300 in fines for allegedly allowing employees to work without fall protection over many years, despite a long history of violations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Longwood-based Collis Roofing Inc. with three willful and one serious safety violation for conditions observed by OSHA inspectors at three residential sites in Jacksonville, Oviedo and Palm Harbor.

One of the largest roofing contractors in the United States, Collis employs 550 roofers and was named 2012 Roofer of the Year by Roofing Contractor Magazine.

Collis Roofing
Collis Roofing

Collis Roofing is the largest roofer in Florida and counts itself as the 13th largest in the United States. The company says 80 percent of its work is residential.

The company did not respond Friday (May 3) to a request for comment.

Willful Violations

The violations stem from two inspections in November and one in December.

In the December citation in Palm Harbor, the company was issued one willful violation that indicates employees were working 18 feet high without fall protection. That citation notes five previous cases against Collis for violations of the same standard:

  • A June 2012 repeat violation with an initial fine of $12,600 that was later reclassified as serious and settled for $6,300;
  • A second repeat citation in September 2011 with an original fine of $34,650 that was later settled as a single repeat violation for $8,000;
  • A repeat citation in March 2011 initially fined at $10,000 that was later reclassified as serious and settled for $5,000;
  • Another repeat citation in March 2011 with an initial fine of $7,920 that was later settled as serious for $4039.20; and
  • A serious citation (among five total citations) in 2008 initially fined at $2,800 that was settled at $1,680.

The willful citation in Oviedo, from an inspection Nov. 13, reports that roofers working at 20 feet up had no fall protection. It cites the same five prior cases.

Collis Roofing
Collis Roofing

Collis Roofing says its commercial clients include Disney and Albertson's supermarkets. A Collis roofer was killed in a fall from a condo in 2000.

The willful citation in Jacksonville, from an inspection Nov. 2, says employees were working at 25 feet up without fall protection. It notes the same five prior cases and adds a serious violation, with a fine of $3,300, alleging that one worker was using a body harness that was not inspected after being "subjected to an impact load event."

The previous fall was not explained.

Each willful violation carries a fine of $70,000. Willful violations are OSHA's highest level of infraction, reserved for violations "committed with intentional, knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health."

Violation History, Fatal Fall

OSHA records show that Collis Roofing jobsites were inspected 17 times in the last five years. Eleven of those inspections resulted in citations. From 2004 to 2007, the company was inspected eight times, and citations were issued each time, according to OSHA records.

In October 2000, according to records, two Collis roofers fell off the roof of a three-story condomium while unloading material from a boom lift. One worker was killed in the 30-foot fall; the other suffered a broken leg. The company was cited for three serious citations and fined $21,000; the fine was later reduced to $16,800.

Founded in 1993, Collis performs residential roofing, drywall, gutter, siding and insulation services. Although residential work makes up about 80 percent of its $34 million portfolio, the company also offers commercial roofing services and lists Disney, Albertson's and Barry University among its clients.

Three-quarters of its work is in new construction, the company says on its website.

OSHA fall poster OSHA fall poster - Spanish

OSHA's Stop Falls Campaign reaches out to workers, including those of low literacy or English skills.

The company has four offices statewide and says it operates in 64 counties in Florida. It has been named a Top 100 Roofer in the United States for several years by Roofing Contractor.

'Steps Away from Death'

"When fall protection is absent, workers are only steps away from a serious injury or death," said Teresa Harrison, OSHA's acting regional administrator for the Southeast. "Employers must ensure that workers have and wear the proper equipment at all times."

OSHA has created a fall prevention web page with detailed information in English and Spanish on fall protection standards. The page offers fact sheets, posters and videos that vividly illustrate various fall hazards and appropriate preventive measures.

In addition, OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have been working with unions, employers and workers on fall prevention education and training.

Collis Roofing Inc. has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.


Tagged categories: Commercial contractors; Drywall; Fall protection; Fatalities; Health and safety; OSHA; Residential contractors; Roofing contractors

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