Vigilant Blog

News, trends and analysis in employment law, HR, safety & workers' comp

May 25, 2017

Safety Violations Cost Washington Company More Than $642K

Workers’ Comp 

All the accident-free days in the world may not be enough to save you from costly fines for workplace safety violations. One Washington company found this out the hard way.

After a series of inspections, the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) recently fined a roofing and building company $642,000 for 21 safety violations, including exposing workers to potential falls from more than 30 feet high.

L&I discovered eight violations of fall protection rules for employees working 10 or more feet off the ground. L&I found each violation to be “willful,” with a penalty of $66,000 per violation, because the company had repeatedly been cited for similar violations in the past three years. They were fined another $70,000 after L&I spotted an employee working unprotected on a rooftop 32 feet above ground. The company is appealing the citations.

Regardless of industry, falls from any height can cause serious injury or even death. “If we can effectively identify fall hazards, we can intervene and prevent injuries or fatalities from occurring,” says Michael Sorensen, Vigilant Safety Professional. Often employers don’t even realize they have a fall hazard or issue until an incident occurs. Those hazards can include improperly constructed guardrail systems or misuse of fall protection equipment due to inadequate anchor points or lanyard lengths. If a claim is filed, treat the worker the same as anyone else, with open communication and an aggressive return-to-work plan.

Don’t wait for an incident or violation to alert you to workplace safety hazards. As a member of Vigilant’s Workers’ Compensation Retro Group, you have access to unlimited counsel from a dedicated safety professional who will assist you to keep your workplace safe and reduce exposure to L&I violations. Our staff will work with you to perform safety inspections, conduct program audits, provide WISHA regulatory guidance, and provide support and resources to organization safety leaders.

Learn about our workers' comp retro program today!

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