UPDATE: March 27, 2019: OSHA this week, as part of an informal settlement, withdrew all safety citations and monetary penalties levied against Universal Engineering Sciences in relation to two August 2018 fatalities at the JW Marriott jobsite in Orlando, Florida. The agency, according to a statement provided to Construction Dive by Mark Israel, president and chief operating officer of Universal, found that Universal did not violate any standards in connection to the incident.
“While Universal Engineering Sciences continues to keep the families and co-workers of those who were lost in this unfortunate accident in our thoughts and prayers, we are gratified by OSHA’s resolution of this matter,” Israel said. "As Universal’s 50-plus year history reflects, our company has always been committed to workplace safety and health.”
An OSHA establishment search revealed this incident to be the only one involving Universal as the subject company as of the agency’s March 22, 2019 update. A similar search for PCL Construction, which was also cited in the case, showed that the original citations and fines still stand.
- OSHA has cited and fined PCL Construction Services Inc., headquartered in Edmonton, Ontario, and Orlando, Florida-based Universal Engineering Sciences Inc. (here and here) in relation to two fatalities at a JW Marriott hotel project site in Orlando. Proposed fines for the two contractors total $157,792 — $144,532 for PCL and $13,260 for Universal.
- The agency claims that two employees of subcontractors Puleo’s Concrete Inc. and C&C Pumping Services Inc. were killed after supports collapsed while they were pouring concrete on the seventh floor of the hotel structure. OSHA said that PCL and Universal did not inspect formwork, shoring, working decks and scaffolds to ensure compliance with formwork drawings and that PCL did not make sure the formwork brace was able to support vertical and lateral loads.
- OSHA sent Puleo’s and C&C hazard alert letters recommending they institute safety policies that include follow-up with the general contractor to ensure that shoring equipment has been installed correctly.
OSHA proposed the largest fine for PCL — $132,598 — for a willfully failing to make sure the formwork was designed and built correctly. Specifically, OSHA said that PCL used bolts and brackets on a shear wall to support the formwork rather than the shoring towers that were required. The agency said this created a collapse hazard.
PCL’s willful fine was the maximum penalty the agency can dole out for that type of violation. OSHA considers a safety violation to be willful if an employer knowingly fails to comply with an OSHA standard or other legal requirement or acts with "plain indifference" to the safety of workers on the site. Willful and repeated violations carry the highest penalties. The maximum penalty for serious, other-than-serious, posting and failure-to-abate (per day) violations is $13,260 per violation.
One of the largest fines OSHA proposed last year included two willful violations after a worker on a Boston construction site suffered a fatal fall. The agency fined Leominster, Massachusetts-based Northeast Framing a total of $311,330 for fall violations, claiming that the contractor had failed to train its workers to recognize hazards or provide them with adequate fall protection.
In addition to the two willful citations, the agency also issued Northeast Framing seven serious and two other-than-serious violation citations related to falls and other safety issues. The company also is contesting those violations and fines. In January, OSHA opened another Northeast Framing case based on a complaint related to fall protection on a jobsite in Brighton, Massachusetts.