Project managers and supervisors are responsible for keeping their employees safe and the court system has recently shown that they take that responsibility very seriously. When supervisors act in a negligent manner and people get hurt or killed, they should be held liable.
In 2015, an owner of a construction company and a project manager were sentenced to 2 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter after a 36 year old worker was killed by a trench collapse. Last year, a foreman was convicted of criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment and was sentenced to 1-3 years in prison after another trench collapsed that killed a worker.
Just last week, an Encino, California man was sentenced to 6 months in county jail and 18-months of supervised release after an excavation collapse killed one of his employees, according to the Ventura County Star. The project manager, who was acting as an unlicensed contractor at the time, faced a prison term of up to 4 years. The man was officially charged with involuntary manslaughter and causing the death of an employee from violating a health or safety standard in July of this year.
The 48-year-old victim died from asphyxia by chest compression while working on a trench during a retaining wall installation. The actual incident happened on September 15, 2011.
Bottom line is: if you’re a supervisor, you should never allow your employees to work in an unsafe excavation and if you’re an employee, you should never think you’re safe in an excavation that is not sloped, shored, or benched. 2016 saw a sharp spike in the amount of trench collapse deaths, more than doubling that of 2015, so there’s still plenty that needs to be done . There are plenty of tools and resources available that explain how to dig a safe excavation, as well.
Full story: Encino man sentenced in death at construction site | Ventura County Star
Last November, OSHA issued a final rule that would finally allow them to enforce language, which has been in their standards since 2010, requiring construction crane operators to be formally qualified to operate the equipment. The first day of enforcement for that rule had been set for November 10, 2018, but the agency has recently proposed a new rule that would pull back some of the initial requirements.
In March, OSHA announced that they would be enforcing their previously delayed beryllium exposure limit for the construction industry on May 11, 2018. The agency has recently confirmed that enforcement date in a memorandum on May 9, 2018.
OSHA newer and more stringent regulations regarding employee’s exposure to respirable crystalline silica officially went into effect on September 23, 2017. The new reduced the permissible exposure limit of the substance, which is found mostly in products containing sand (like concrete, mortar, and brick), from 250 micrograms per cubic meter of air down to 50 micrograms per cubic meter of air averaged over an 8 hour shift.
If your company did not electronically submitted its 2016 OSHA 300A injury and illness log to OSHA before December 31, 2017, they could be facing an other-than-serious violation with a maximum penalty of $12,934. We tried to warn you, and warn you, and warn you again.
First announced in January 2017, OSHA’s new beryllium exposure limit for construction workers was originally supposed to be in full effect on March 12, 2018. The administration just announced last Friday that the new enforcement date for the rule will be May 11, 2018.
OSHA gives employees many rights in the workplace and employers many responsibilities. One of those is the employee’s right to see the company’s OSHA 300 Injury and Illness Summary Log and the employer’s responsibility to post it.
When OSHA raised its citation penalty amounts for the first time since 1990 in 2016, it raised them 78% to catch up with inflation over that many years. It wasn’t just a one time increase, however, as the amended Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 no longer exempts OSHA from its requirements.
If you have not submitted your company’s OSHA Form 300A electronically through OSHA’s Injury Tracking Application (ITA) yet, you only have a few days left to do so.
OSHA has long used the language in the OSH act to find and hold multiple employers accountable for the actions of another on construction job sites. For decades, OSHA would not only cite the employer whose employees were exposed to hazards, but would also cite the employer who was designated the “controlling employer” on-site, which is most often the general contractor.
The controversial Electronic Injury and Illness Reporting rule from OSHA was supposed to go into effect on December 1, 2017, but OSHA has recently delayed that enforcement to allow those affected to become familiar with the new electronic reporting system.