OSHA Issues Hefty Construction Violation Citations in Q2 2020

A July 27 report by Construction Dive detailed some of the heftiest citations levied against construction job sites in Q2 2020 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which inspects workplaces for safety compliance and takes enforcement action against violators. OSHA’s Q2 citations include actions for fall safety, the improper use of hydraulic excavators, and a fall resulting in death. They range from $134,937 to $234,642.

The largest action was taken against Columbus, Ohio contractor Alejandro Vasquez Gallegos. OSHA inspections found alleged safety violations including “workers on roofs without sufficient fall protection, employees without safety glasses and workers using ladders improperly,” according to Construction Dive. The inspectors observed these violations at two separate construction sites. It proposed fines of $141,222 and $95,420, totaling $236,642. The contractor has not contested these citations.

The second largest action was taken against Pacific, Missouri firm Unnerstall Contracting Co. LLC. According to OSHA records and Construction Dive, a December 2019 inspection found that one of the firm’s workers sustained an injury when a trench collapsed, and OSHA subsequently issued the firm “four serious and three willful citation violations,” with proposed fines totaling $224,459. OSHA also added Unnerstall to its Severe Violator Enforcement Program. OSHA records docuent allegations that the firm failed to properly protect its trenches, permitted water to accumulated in the trench floor, did not offer a safe exit path from the trench, failed to protect employees from struck-by hazards, and permitted employees to ride in heavy equipment buckets. The firm is contesting OSHA’s citations.

The third largest action includes proposed fines of $224,424 to Palatine, Illinois firm D&R Construction. According to OSHA, a pair of inspections at the end 2019 yielded allegations that the firm did not ensure workers wore proper head protections, did not adequately implement fall arrest and protection systems, failed to ensure proper use of ladders (a repeat violation), and failed to train employees about fall hazards (a repeat violation). The firm has not contested the violations.

The fourth largest action is a proposed fine of $138,118 against a Mobile, Alabama contractor whose roofing worker suffered head injuries after a nine-foot fall, was hospitalized, and died. OSHA’s inspection of the job site after the fall found that the accident occurred “as the worker was removing existing weatherproofing material from a roof’s surface,” according to Construction Dive. The contractor was issued three violations and has not contested the fine.

OSHA’s fifth largest action in Q2 2020 includes proposed fines of $134,937 against Sarasota, Florida firm Crown Roofing. An inspection found that the firm “had exposed its employees to fall hazards by allowing them to perform roofing work without adequate fall protection,” according to Construction Dive, which notes that OSHA conducted 18 inspections of Crown Roofing sites “in the last six years and has found evidence of violations 12 times.” The firm has entered into a penalty payment plan and negotiated the most recent fine to $80,962.

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