A Washington state appeals court has reinstated a workplace safety complaint against a roofing contractor cited for failing to ensure workers had proper fall protection on the job.
The Washington Court of Appeals on Tuesday overturned a lower court ruling that threw out subpoenas by the state Department of Labor and Industries against Kent, Wash.-based Three Tree Roofing Co. which resulted from inspections in 2018 and 2019.
Safety inspectors said employees were observed wearing harnesses that were not connected to lifelines. The company’s owner claimed the employees were part of a “rogue crew” that had been written up for past violations but ignored company directives.
The company appealed to the Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals, arguing that the violations stemmed from negligent employee misconduct, but the board upheld the lawsuits.
A trial court reversed the board̵7;s decision, finding that the company proved it had a valid safety program in place and that the violations were due solely to employee misconduct. The employment agency appealed the decision.
The appeals court reversed the trial court, finding that there was “substantial” evidence to support the board’s decision to uphold the citation and $10,500 fine.