Real Estate News

Federal regulators again cite Latite Roofing for worker-safety violations

A Latite employee works on a job site in Cutler Bay in this 1998 file photo.
A Latite employee works on a job site in Cutler Bay in this 1998 file photo. HERALD STAFF

Latite Roofing and Sheet Metal, one of South Florida’s biggest roofing contractors, has been cited by federal regulators for continuing to expose its workers to dangerous falls, the most recent in a string of violations by the Pompano Beach-based company.

Employees were allowed to work from heights of 10, 15 and 20 feet without proper fall protection, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

OSHA has proposed a fine of $136,000 for six violations inspectors discovered this spring at work sites in Naples, Glenvar Heights and Plantation. Latite has the right to contest the fine. The company did not return a call seeking comment.

Latite has been cited nine times in the past five years, according to OSHA. One incident last year involved the death of a 55-year-old worker, Robert Elliott, who was struck by lightning after investigators said Latite supervisors told him to keep working during a rainstorm.

“Residential roofing work can be deadly when safety measures are not enforced,” said Condell Eastmond, director of the agency’s office in Fort Lauderdale, in a statement. “Latite Roofing has an extensive OSHA inspection history, but continues to expose employees to life-threatening safety hazards. Latite must assess its work practices immediately to ensure workers are protected.”

A Miami Herald investigation published last year also found that Latite was one of hundreds of contractors illegally misclassifying its employees as independent contractors on government building projects. Misclassifying workers allows companies to skip out on federal taxes and to undercut law-abiding competitors when bidding for jobs.