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December 29, 2021
Florida roofer facing imprisonment in ongoing OSHA case

A Jacksonville, Florida, roofing contractor faces incarceration for his failure to comply with court orders related to a series of safety violations, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently announced.

Travis Slaughter, the owner of Great White Construction Inc. and Florida Roofing Experts, has failed to pay $2,202,049 in penalties assessed by OSHA for more than 48 safety and health violations at Florida worksites dating back nearly a decade. Slaughter has a long history of exposing his workers to the serious and potentially fatal risks related to falls, according to the agency.

Slaughter’s companies have been the subject of several inspections, resulting in numerous willful, repeat, and serious violations. OSHA again cited Florida Roofing Experts January 9, 2020, and placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) due to the high-gravity willful, egregious violations related to fall hazards.

“The U.S. Department of Labor’s enforcement action and the litigation that followed shows we will use every resource available to hold Travis Slaughter and his companies, Great White Construction Inc. and Florida Roofing Experts, accountable for continually putting workers at risk of serious injury or worse,” Atlanta Regional Solicitor of Labor Tremelle Howard said in an agency statement.

According to the Department of Labor (DOL), OSHA’s history with Slaughter, Great White, and Florida Roofing Experts includes the following:

  • OSHA inspected Great White Construction 10 times between September 17, 2013, and November 5, 2016, and cited the company for 17 violations, many of which were for failing to protect workers from fall hazards.
  • The agency inspected two Great White jobsites in February 2017 and issued 2 citations for multiple instances of failing to protect workers from falling more than 6 feet to a lower level.
  • On August 28, 2019, based on Great White’s, Florida Roofing’s, and Slaughter’s continued violations of OSHA standards and failure to pay penalties, the DOL filed a petition for civil contempt, citing the failure to comply with 2017 and 2018 court orders.
  • On January 3, 2020, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit held the companies and Slaughter in civil contempt and ordered the company to pay the outstanding penalties of $2,202,049, plus interest and fees.
  • During 2020, Slaughter registered two companies with the state of Florida, transferred property to his father and daughter, received a retirement account disbursement, and opened bank accounts without notifying the DOL.

This fall, the DOL asked the appeals court to set aside as fraudulent Slaughter’s transfers of real property to family members, have him incarcerated for continued contempt, and order him to pay fees and costs.

A federal district court judge concluded that Slaughter has deliberately ignored the court orders and recommended Slaughter’s immediate incarceration until he has paid penalties, fees, and costs due or has made a meaningful proposal for financial payment accompanied with the first installment of the agreed-upon payment.

The construction industry fall protection standard (29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §1926.501) is OSHA’s most frequently cited safety and health standard. The agency cited 5,295 violations in fiscal year (FY) 2021.

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