A spokesperson for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Florida says fall protection for employees who work at heights is not optional; it is a mandatory legal requirement. This followed the conclusion of a March investigation at a roofing company in Jacksonville. A significant number of workers’ compensation claims involve falls from elevated levels.

According to OSHA, inspectors determined that two of the three violations that were identified at a job site were fourth-time repeats — which is unacceptable. It was determined that roof workers had to rely on their balance abilities to stay safe because they were not provided with fall arrest harnesses, nor were there guardrails or safety nets. These workers were on the pitched roof of a two-story building.

Furthermore, employees had no eye protection while they worked with pneumatic nail guns. The installation process of asphalt shingles on a roof pose significant eye damage risk with flying debris and potential stray nails. According to OSHA, penalties exceeding $105,000 were proposed after the most recent investigation, and this company was also fined for similar violations, once in 2017 and twice in 2013.

It is unfortunate that employees in Florida have to risk their lives to earn wages to enable them to care for their families. Fortunately, injured workers will likely be entitled to financial relief through the state-regulated workers’ compensation insurance program. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can assist throughout the complicated claims process to obtain benefits that will cover medical expenses along with a portion of lost wages.