Tacoma, Wash., Contractor Cited for Workers' Comp Fraud, Safety Violations

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

An industrial insurance audit showed that Armstrong Construction owed $3,642 in unpaid premiums for underreporting worker hours and had been audited two times before for the same problem, according to L&I. 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, according to the agency. Fall protection equipment was at the job site but was not being used, the agency says.

The company was cited $30,500 for two willful, one repeat serious, one serious and two general violations of safety regulations.

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

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