OSHA Enforcement

Portland, OR

Oregon’s OSHA has confirmed that asbestos was found in a Portland apartment complex and cited Tandem Property Management for 9 serious violations.

Tandem and the property, Commons at Sylvan Highlands, have been the subject of lawsuits from former employees and residents, alleging that executives knew about asbestos and moved forward with construction projects, putting workers and tenants at risk.

OSHA has referred the case to Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality because employees alleged during the investigation that materials containing asbestos were transferred to a disposal site away from Commons at Sylvan Highlands.

According to OSHA documents, Tandem has been ordered to pay a penalty of $12,250 for the 9 violations, which were all deemed “serious.”

Those violations include:

  • Not monitoring to determine employee exposure to asbestos-containing materials;
  • Not using appropriate vacuums to clean up asbestos;
  • Not preparing employees with respirators or protective clothing; and
  • Not training construction workers on how to properly deal with asbestos.

Parkland, FL

OSHA has cited C.W. Hendrix Farms Inc. for failing to protect workers from recognized hazards after lightning struck and killed an employee at the Parkland, Florida, farm, on May 17, 2018. Two other people were injured.

OSHA inspectors determined that Hendrix Farms exposed employees to lightning strikes as they picked vegetables in inclement weather. The company faces a penalty of $12,934, the maximum amount allowed.

According to Florida’s Daily Commercial, an average of five people per year have been killed by lightning in Florida in the past decade, with June, July, and August typically having the highest number of fatalities because of the state’s reliable summer thunderstorms.

There are also more people who are outside golfing, fishing and going to the beach.

The National Weather Service warns that lightning can strike from 10 miles away, meaning even a sunny day with a storm in the distance can be a danger.

Boston, MA

OSHA has ordered Springfield Terminal Railway Inc. to compensate an employee who faced an investigative hearing with possible disciplinary action or termination for reporting an on-the-job injury at its facility in Andover, Massachusetts. OSHA ordered the company to pay the employee $10,000 in compensatory damages, $75,000 in punitive damages, and attorney’s fees.

An OSHA investigation determined Springfield Terminal Railway Inc. violated the whistleblower provisions of the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA) when the company notified the employee of a mandatory hearing one day after he sustained and reported his injury, and was subjected to the hearing.

Springfield Terminal Railway Inc. must also:

  • Train managers and employees on proper reporting of injuries and illness;
  • Inform employees of their rights under FRSA and the Occupational Safety and Health Act; and
  • Expunge any references to reporting an injury from the employee’s record. Springfield Terminal Railway Inc. may appeal the order to the Department’s Office of Administrative Law Judges.

Santa Ana, CA

Cal/OSHA has issued citations to Circle M Contractors, Inc. for willful violations of nail gun safety regulations after a carpenter was seriously injured at a residential construction site.

An investigation found that the employer failed to train and instruct employees on the proper use of pressure-powered nailing tools.

Cal/OSHA issued two willful-serious accident-related citations with a total of $225,500 in proposed penalties for Circle M Contractors’ failure to train workers on nail guns and failure to ensure safe operation of these tools.

Cal/OSHA’s review of the employer’s injury log showed 34 instances of nail gun injuries suffered by employees since 2016.

The agency has conducted over 570 inspections of framing contractors since 2015. This industry has appeared on Cal/OSHA’s High Hazard Industry List each year from 2015 to the present.

The list is compiled yearly based on injury rates so that Cal/OSHA may target employers in high-hazardous industries with the highest incidence of preventable workplace injuries and illnesses.