If you’re in the construction business, you may want to ensure that your worksite is free from serious safety risks and hazards. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recently issued several hefty fines, and even jail time, to a number of construction companies that had repeated and serious safety violations.
In May, nine contractors working at a newly constructed luxury housing complex got slapped with more than $150,000 in fines after OSHA inspectors visited the work site last fall. Inspectors cited the contractors for exposing employees to a number of safety hazards and risks, including 35-foot falls, exposed rebar, head and eye injuries and other hazards that could lead to death or serious injury.
This incident is notable because OSHA cited nearly all of the contractors on site, including the developer, project manager, a roofing company, window outfitters, and carpentry, masonry and drywall trade subs. Of the nine companies cited, OSHA had previously inspected four of them for serious violations.
One month later, a president and vice president of a local roofing company were arrested for failing to comply with a civil contempt order that came as a result of nonpayment of fines for multiple OSHA infractions. In 2011 and 2012, OSHA conducted several inspections of the company’s work sites and found multiple fall protection, eye and face protection and ladder safety violations, among others.
When the company failed to pay penalties of more than $195,000 plus interest and fees, and continued to violate OSHA standards, the courts issued the arrest. After spending more than a week in jail, the owners were released on bond and given 30 days to either pay off the outstanding penalties, or demonstrate an inability to pay and certify that they have worked to resolve the OSHA violations cited in prior inspections. Their final hearing is scheduled for Aug. 26.
More recently, two sister companies were cited with willful and repeat safety violations, including fall hazards for workers installing wood framing more than 10 feet off the ground. The citations resulted in proposed penalties of $153,090. According to the agency, the parent company has a history of OSHA violations and was shut down earlier this year. Its former owner restarted the company as two new ones in February, but continues to ignore OSHA regulations.
Visit nahb.org/safety for information, tools and resources that can help you avoid fines and penalties like these.