Concerns Over Construction Safety Violations in WA


fall hazardISSAQUAH, WA –  A 46-year-old mason was killed Monday when he fell from scaffolding at an apartment building project on 7th Avenue and Gilman Boulevard.

The worker was identified as Philip Rumsey, a longtime employee at Fairweather Masonry. Safety signs posted at the job site say fall protection is required.

Records show in 2015 in West Seattle an employee slipped 14 feet from a ladder. Labor and Industries investigated and did not find any violations

In 2012 there was a complaint at a construction site in Auburn.  Record show the company was cited for not ensuring walk-around safety inspections.

Meantime, A Battle Ground, Wash., siding company faces a substantial fine from the state after being cited for workplace safety violations involving fall hazards for the seventh time in four years.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) recently cited Olympic Siding Inc., for four repeat-serious and four serious violations, with total penalties of $135,800.

Three of the repeat-serious violations were for unsafe use of a ladder and failure to ensure fall protection for employees working on a roof and scaffold. Each of those violations carries a penalty of $33,600. The other repeat-serious citation was for not ensuring employees wore eye protection when using power tools. That violation has a $21,000 penalty. The company is appealing its citations.

The siding company also was cited for not requiring hard hats ($4,200), unsafe means of exiting a 15-foot scaffold ($4,200), failure to have a formal written accident prevention program tailored to the needs of the workplace ($1,400) and improper use of a self-supporting ladder ($4,200). All are considered “serious” violations because there’s a substantial probability that they could result in worker death or serious physical harm.

Falls from ladders, roofs and other elevated workspaces are the leading cause of construction worker fatalities and hospitalizations. Last year, six construction workers died from falls, the highest number since 2006.

So far this year, three construction workers have fallen to their deaths. In another incident last week in Yakima, a roofer fell eight feet and was seriously injured.

The Olympic Siding inspection began in January when an L&I compliance officer observed two workers without fall protection on the roof of a residence in Vancouver.

As a result of these repeat-serious violations, Olympic Siding Inc. now is considered a severe violator and will be subject to follow-up inspections to determine if the conditions still exist in the future.