The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued a New Jersey builder three willful, four repeat and six serious safety violation citations and fined the company $291,997 for lack of employee fall protection, failure to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and unacceptable ladder use.
OSHA said investigators saw Station Builders' employees in "imminent danger conditions" on three of its job sites in Pennsylvania and observed fall-protection violations on four. In addition to the PPE and ladder violations, OSHA cited the company for failure to conduct regular inspections on its projects.
- OSHA said that since November 2015, it has issued Station Builders 16 violations, with fall protection violations a recurring theme.
OSHA said the Station Builders inspections are a part of its nationwide Regional Emphasis Program on Falls in Construction. According to OSHA, four in 10 preventable construction worker deaths are fall-related, but they can also leave workers alive with serious injuries. OSHA cited Florida contractor Fast Carpentry last week for willful and repeated safety violations after one of its job site accidents left an employee partially impaled on a metal fence post. OSHA said the employee, who had just started working for Fast that day, was carrying a piece of sheathing across a rooftop when it caught wind and caused him to fall 14 feet. OSHA also fined Fast $152,145.
As in the case of Station Builders, however, there doesn’t have to be an injury for OSHA to take action. In another Florida case, the agency fined Chris Sawdo Construction almost $200,000 last month for allegedly allowing employees to work at heights of up to 20 feet without proper fall protection. In August, OSHA also fined homebuilder D.R. Horton and one of its subcontractors $107,000 after it said the two permitted work at heights of 25 feet on a Jacksonville, FL, project without adequate fall protection measures in place. The agency ordered Horton to pay the larger share of the fine — $68,591 — even though direct employees weren't involved in the risky behavior OSHA cited in its report.
If these fines seem higher than normal, it's because they are. In August, OSHA raised its penalties 78% across the board for violations that took place after November 2015. The mandated increase was part of the 2016 federal budget bill, which ordered OSHA and other federal agencies to bring their fine and penalty rates in line with the Consumer Price Index. This is OSHA's first increase since 1990.