Builder Citation Sets Precedent and Sends Wake-Up Call

Professional Contractors and Insurance Commissioner Spotlight Industry Clean-up and Enforcement of Laws

Mar 03, 2011, 17:50 ET from California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A national builder recently lost the appeal of a citation for violations of fall protection requirements at an Orange County jobsite sending a wake-up call to all builders and general contractors. The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) classified John Laing Homes (JLH) as a "controlling" employer that should have been aware of the serious exposures to its subcontractor's framing employees, and that with any amount of due diligence, JLH should have ordered the serious and obvious hazards corrected immediately. Employees were working without fall protection at fall heights over 20 feet. This serious violation will be placed on the builder's permanent OSHA record for anyone to see and could negatively impact the builder's ability to get future work.

"This is much more than just a citation of a national builder," said Bruce Wick, Director of Risk Management for the California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors (CALPASC). "This sends a real message to all builders and general contractors that, as the controlling employer of a jobsite, they can't cut corners, deliver shoddy work and ignore hazards that could be uncovered with reasonable due diligence."

JLH's initial inspection occurred in 2003 after which they received a citation for a fall protection violation. JLH appealed the initial citation, but it was ultimately upheld by the Cal/OSHA Appeals Board rendering the facts of the citation as precedent.  

JLH's failed appeal comes on the heels of California State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones' announcement of the conviction of a Los Gatos construction business owner for insurance fraud and perjury. According to the release published by the commissioner's office, "The case involved a $1.6 million penalty for failure to pay premiums and failure to accurately report payroll." Haas Construction Corporation failed to accurately report employee payroll to its workers' compensation insurance carrier from July 1, 1998, to June 1, 2005.  

According to Jones, "Workers' compensation insurance premium fraud is an egregious offense, and it will be fully investigated by my Department. Those who would seek to cheat a fund to help workers who were legitimately injured will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

President Jakki Kutz, Allied Framers, and representative of CALPASC's LEVEL Program, couldn't be more pleased to see the crackdowns that are occurring. "This industry is full of good builders and contractors that perform good due diligence," said Kutz, "but the 'cloak of dishonesty' worn by cheaters in the construction industry is costing California and professional contractors money and jobs. That's why we will continue to build the LEVEL Program to put a magnifying glass on these cheaters." CALPASC's LEVEL Program continues to work with California state departments and agencies on multiple levels to improve construction enforcement, eliminate unnecessary laws and regulations, ensure the right resources are allocated to the right agencies and level the playing field for law-abiding construction contractors.

The California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors is a nonprofit 501(c)6 trade association advocating on behalf of trade contractors and suppliers of building materials in California. CALPASC is committed to educating members on complex issues and advancing safety and compliance within the building industry.

CONTACT: Brad Diede


SOURCE California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors