OSHA Enforcement

Hagatna, GU – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited Benson Guam Enterprises Inc. – based in Hagatna, Guam – for exposing employees to struck-by hazards after an employee suffered fatal injuries when several doors fell on him as he unloaded a shipping container.

OSHA cited the company for the following violations:

  • Failing to secure stored materials to prevent accidental movement or shifting;
  • Failing to provide a place of employment free from recognized hazards, and
  • Not conducting performance evaluations of powered industrial truck operators at least once every three years.

The company faces $16,575 in penalties.

Hanover, VT – A Bellows Falls home improvement company is facing $7,740 in penalties after a 33-year-old worker fell 20 feet to his death while working on a single-family stucco and wood home on 3 Mulherrin Farm Road.

Federal regulators determined the scaffolding Derek Goldsmith was standing on didn’t have enough guardrails, in violation of safety regulations.

According to SentinelSource.com, this is the second time in recent years that Home Improvement Co. of Vermont Inc., doing business as Jancewicz & Son, has come under scrutiny for scaffolding safety violations.

On Sept. 21 — the day before Goldsmith’s fall — Vermont regulators cited the company for the same reason.

A Jancewicz & Son crew working on a church roof in Woodstock, Vt., in April had erected and used scaffolding without guardrails on all open sides, among other violations, Vermont OSHA records show.

The violations were discovered during a standard, unannounced inspection, according to the agency.

The notice indicates that federal regulators initially issued a $34,922 civil penalty. But Jancewicz & Son settled with OSHA, and that penalty was reduced by more than 40 percent, to $12,934, according to the Jan. 28 settlement agreement.

Regulators also deleted two of the violations they initially identified — the ones pertaining to hazard inspections and employee training — but kept the scaffolding safety citations in place.

New Jersey – The federal government has filed a lawsuit against a New Jersey construction company in an effort to collect $678,053 of past-due fines levied by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 

The lawsuit, filed Feb. 6 by the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey, alleges that Palisades Park, New Jersey, contractor, Frame Q, owes fines resulting from eight jobsite inspections dating back to March 2014.

The original fines total $473,178, but the government has added penalties, interest and other charges, including an extra $173,100 for Department of Justice and U.S. Treasury fees.

Frame Q contested at least one of the fines, but its claim was rejected because it filed its Notice of Contest too late. 

The lawsuit does not include a proposed fine of $261,451 for one serious and three repeated violations from another site inspection on July 11, 2018. All the inspections were planned and list falls as their primary emphasis. 

Foster City, CA—Cal/OSHA has cited Bay Area contractor Platinum Pipeline, Inc. $242,600 for failing to protect employees working in a trench at a construction site.

Investigators determined the Livermore company committed willful-serious safety violations by instructing employees to continue grading the bottom of the trench without providing any protection, even after identifying the soil as unstable.

As a result, a 14-foot-high excavation wall collapsed and killed one of the workers on July 27, 2018.

Cal/OSHA cited Platinum Pipeline, Inc. for 10 violations, including two classified as willful-serious accident-related, five serious and three general.

The willful-serious accident-related violations were cited for failing to ensure that no employees were in the trench until an adequate protective system was put in place to ensure their safety, and for failing to remove workers from an excavation after a competent person observed cave-in hazards.

The serious category violations included the employer’s failure to secure the utility pole and various excavation safety hazards such as placing excavated material too close to the edge of the excavation.

A serious violation is cited when there is a realistic possibility that death or serious harm could result from the actual hazardous condition. 

A willful violation is cited when the employer is aware of the law and violates it nevertheless, or when the employer is aware of the hazardous condition and takes no reasonable steps to address it.