Puyallup contractor fined $200,000 for safety violations in Olympia

A Puyallup construction company faces more than $200,000 in fines for repeated safety violations at a residential construction site in Olympia, the state Department of Labor & Industries announced Wednesday.

J & I Construction was cited with 13 violations that exposed workers to falls and other hazards after an investigation that started in May, according to an L&I news release.

Three willful violations, with a fine of $42,000 each, were issued because three employees working atop a 20-foot wall did not have proper fall protection, the release said.

J & I Construction also faces three repeat serious violations because the site lacked a plan for fall hazards, workers were exposed to unguarded wall openings through which they could fall, and workers were standing on the top step of ladders.

The findings include penalties totaling $203,420.

The business did not answer calls seeking comment.

“Falls continue to be the leading cause of construction worker deaths and hospitalizations, and yet they are completely preventable by using proper fall protection and following safe work practices,” Anne Soiza, assistant director of the L&I Division of Occupational Safety and Health, said in the release.

Seven people died in Washington in 2016 in construction falls, Soiza said.

J & I Construction also was cited for not having railing on stairs, not ensuring employees were using hard hats, not having safety springs on nail guns, not conducting walk-around safety inspections and having no employee on-site with a valid first aid card.

The company has 15 days to appeal.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker