Washington Contractor Fined $230K for Fall Protection, Other Safety Violations

September 17, 2020

An Everett, Wash., construction company with a history of safety violations is facing fines of more than $230,000 after inspections at two Seattle job sites reportedly found numerous problems that placed workers at significant risk.

Chilos Builders LLC was recently cited for eight safety violations, including exposing employees to fall hazards while working two and three stories above ground.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries issued the citations for violations at job sites in the Georgetown and Ballard neighborhoods in Seattle.

As a result of these recent violations, L&I has designated the framing contractor a severe violator. That means inspectors will continue to inspect the company’s work sites until the unsafe conditions no longer exist.

Apart from the two most recent inspections, L&I has inspected Chilos Builders under its current name and a previous name five times since 2016. Each of those inspections resulted in L&I citing the company for safety issues including fall violations. Chilos has appealed the citations from one of the inspections in 2018.

Chilos Builders, owned by Ana Iglesias and managed by Cecilio Solorio, has reported 30 worker injuries under the two companies since 2016. The injuries include three caused by workers falling from heights of 8 to 15 feet. The claims have cost the workers’ compensation system more than $280,000 in medical treatment and related services.

In a separate action, L&I suspended the company’s contractor registration in April for failing to have liability insurance. The registration remains suspended.

The most recent safety violations reportedly occurred in April when the company was helping build new apartments in Georgetown. Inspectors found inadequate safety rails on the roof, where six of the company’s framers were working just over 28 feet above ground.

In addition, there were four unguarded wall openings 9.5 feet above ground and no handrails on stairways leading to the second floor.

The Georgetown violations resulted in three citations totaling $126,000 in fines. The citations were designated “willful,” meaning the employer knew or should have known the rules, but refused to follow them.

The company corrected the safety hazards the day after inspectors first arrived.

Two months earlier, in February, inspectors found five safety violations when the company was working in Ballard on another multi-unit residential project.

Two of the citations were considered willful, including one for failing to install fall protection on window and door openings on the three-story building. Inspectors saw at least two workers on the second floor and one worker on the third floor exposed to the potential fall hazards.

The company, which said it had 66 workers, was also cited for failing to train at least three employees on how to prevent fall hazards, failing to document weekly safety inspections and weekly safety meetings, and failing to ensure crew leaders and supervisors held valid first-aid certificates.

The Ballard site citations resulted in a total of $108,360 in fines.

Employers have 15 business days from the time they receive a citation to appeal.

Penalty money paid as a result of a citation is placed in the workers’ comp supplemental pension fund, helping injured workers and families of those who have died on the job.

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