Safety violations in the construction industry can quickly turn into to jaw-dropping fines if state inspectors catch wind of the lapses. But the fines are often eclipsed by the medical costs required to treat a worker injured due to lax safety standards. Hence the hefty financial penalties.
Everett-based construction company Chilos Builders LLC was recently fined more than $230,000 for safety issues including exposing workers to fall hazards while working two and three stories above ground at two of its Seattle job sites.
The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries (L&I), which administers workers’ compensation claims, issued eight citations in total this time around. It’s not the first time the framing contractor has fallen afoul of L&I safety inspectors.
“We’ve cited this company for numerous safety violations the past few years, and we’ve told them many times how to protect their workers from falling from elevations,” said Anne Soiza, L&I assistant director for the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH).
“These safety rules are in place to protect workers, and this employer is blatantly ignoring them while other employers protect their workers from harm.”
Along with the latest round of violations, L&I designated Chilos Builders a “severe violator,” putting the company under increased scrutiny from inspectors until dangerous working conditions are rectified.
L&I had previously inspected Chilos Builders (which used to operate under a different name) five times since 2016. The company, which was cited for safety issues on each occasion, appealed citations from one of the inspections in 2019 During the same period, the companies reported 30 worker injuries including three from falls, which cost the state’s workers’ comp system more than $280,000 in medical bills.
In April, L&I suspended Chilos Builders’ contractor registration for failing to have liability insurance. The registration remains suspended, according to L&I.
Construction accidents can disrupt or even end a person’s career, greatly diminishing their health and stability. Injured workers are entitled to workers’ compensation and medical treatment through L&I. In some cases, injured workers can also pursue third party lawsuits as well.
If you believe you have a workers’ comp, injury, or other employment law claim, call Emery Reddy for a free consultation. You won’t get better advice.