Recently, we learned that knowingly putting your employees in danger can land contractors a prison sentence of two years for involuntary manslaughter. Well, OSHA doesn’t take too kindly to being lied to either.
On March 18th, 2013, a five man crew in Alabama was working on a roofing project when a severe thunderstorm began. 3 of the 5 workers were injured during the storm: one lost his left arm, another suffered a shoulder injury, and the third fell 30 feet to the ground and suffered broken wrists, ribs, tail bone, and pelvis.
The supervisor of that crew told OSHA that he had been on site at the time of the incident and that his men had been properly tied off and equipped with fall arrest protection. More than a year later, on July 23, 2014, OSHA officially cited the contractor with six safety violations after their investigation. Fines accumulated from the 6 citations totaled $55,000
- (1) Count of failing to provide workers with fall protection
- (4) Counts of exposing workers to severe weather conditions
- (1) Count of failing to notify OSHA after the workers were admitted to the hospital
Due to the investigation, OSHA had determined that the supervisor had actually purchased the fall protection equipment after the injuries occurred, as opposed to 5 days prior as he told the administrator. On August 6th, the supervisor was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and 30 hours of community service.
Let this be a lesson to everyone, if you’re going to do something stupid, it’s best not to lie about it.
Multi-employer worksites are extremely common in the construction industry, but they can still make work extremely complicated. One of those complications results when a subcontractor receives a governmental violation, such as an OSHA violation. As a controlling employer on the site, can a general contractor be held responsible for safety hazards of a subcontractor? One court says yes.
After an abundance of delays on rule that would require crane operators to be formally qualified to operate, OSHA finally landed on an effective date of February 7, 2019. After receiving feedback from industry partners, OSHA has decided to delay enforcement for 60 days for contractors who make a “good faith effort” to comply.
As has been expected for a few months now, OSHA has officially removed the requirement for large companies with 250 or more employees to submit OSHA Forms 300 and 301. The administration cited privacy concerns as the reason for the change.
Be careful - owners and contractors are now being held criminally liable for their carelessness and disregard of safety protocols.
Since the 2016 Federal budget was passed, OSHA has increased their maximum citation penalty amount to adjust for inflation on a yearly basis. The 2019 increase has recently been announced.
Last November, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. announced felonious assault charges against a contractor’s superintendent and a manufacturer’s branch manager after two men suffered horrific injuries on a New York jobsite. Last week, OSHA formally announced citations against the St. Louis, Missouri based contractor.
After an uptick in construction industry fatalities in 2016, a recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that both the amount of construction worker deaths and the rate of fatality dropped in 2017.
At the National Safety Council Congress & Expo on October 23, 2018, OSHA’s deputy director of Directorate of Enforcement Programs, Patrick Kapust, announced their 10 most frequesntly cited safety violations for their fiscal year 2018.
On March 15, 2018, 6 people were killed and 8 others were injured when an under construction pedestrian bridge collapsed in Florida. Several months later, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released their preliminary report while conducting an official investigation. The NTSB later issued an “Investigative Update” to their preliminary report in August. In Mid-November, the NTSB released a 2nd investigative update, narrowing their root cause theories.