St. Louis Contractor Faces $276K in Fines Over Deadly Fall Hazards

Federal workplace safety inspectors found a Missouri roofing contractor again risking the safety of its employees by failing to protect them against the construction industry’s deadliest hazard — falls from heights— at five residential worksites in Wentzville in October and November 2023.

Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened investigations after observing H R Vasquez Construction, LLC employees working on roofs without required fall protection equipment at separate sites on Oct. 25, 27, 30, Nov. 2 and Nov. 28, 2023.

Specifically, OSHA found the St. Louis company did not provide employees with fall protection as they worked at heights greater than six feet and failed to ensure workers using pneumatic nail guns wore personal eye and face protective equipment. H R Vasquez Construction also allowed the improper use of ladders, had not developed a written hazard communication program, and did not begin or maintain an accident prevention program.

In all, OSHA cited the company for 13 violations – nine repeat, three serious and one other-than-serious – and assessed $267,332 in proposed penalties.

Since 2021, the agency has cited the contractor seven times for putting roofing workers in danger. The agency first identified three serious violations related to a lack of required fall protection by H R Vasquez Construction in October 2021 at a Ballwin work site. Another inspection in Chesterfield in June 2022 led OSHA to cite the company for two repeat violations.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.