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July 19, 2005

Contractor cited for fraud and safety violations

TUMWATER — In a combined effort to combat fraud and protect workers from serious injury and death, the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) has cited a Tacoma roofing contractor for workers’ compensation fraud and multiple safety violations.

An industrial insurance audit showed that Armstrong Construction, of 3108 S. Ninth St. in Tacoma, owed $3,642 in unpaid premiums for underreporting worker hours and had been audited two times before for the same problem. Because of the severity of the repeats, the company was cited for a misrepresentation penalty of 10 times the amount owed, for an additional $36,420.

During the course of the audit, L&I safety inspectors were alerted to possible safety violations at the contractor’s job sites. Inspectors found ongoing problems, such as a supervisor and another employee working on a steep-pitched roof at heights of 12 and 30 feet without any fall protection. Fall-protection equipment was at the job site but was not being used. The company was cited $30,500 for two “willful,” one “repeat serious,” one “serious” and two “general” violations of safety regulations.

“Serious” violations are issued when failure to follow safety regulations is likely to result in death or serious injury. “Willful” is cited when the department finds an employer intentionally or knowingly violated rules or knew that a violation was occurring and was plainly indifferent to correcting it. The company has 15 working days to appeal the safety citations.

Falls in construction are a significant cause of workplace deaths. In the past six years, 38 construction workers in Washington have died in falls. Falls in construction are also the leading cause of severe injury to employees.


For media information: Steve Pierce at 360-902-5413; e-mail: piet235@LNI.wa.gov or visit the L&I News and Media Center at www.LNI.wa.gov/News.

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