In the fourth quarter of 2020 as in many other quarters, fall protection safety standards have a prominent place on the list of top OSHA violations. However, there were also four deaths, as well as violations for failure to protect employees from chemicals commonly associated with painting work, improper management of suspended loads and more related to hoisting and rigging.
Here are the nine violations for the quarter with fines exceeding $120,000, ranked by fine amount:
1. Fabcon Precast LLC - Grove City, Ohio
Total Proposed Fines: $451,079
Status: Violations Under Contest
Fabcon Precast LLC, a manufacturer of precast concrete panels, had the highest proposed fine in Construction Dive’s OSHA roundup for the fourth quarter of 2020.
The $451,079 in proposed initial OSHA fines, representing 10 serious and five willful violation citations, are a result of a worker death at Fabcon’s Grove City, Ohio, facility on June 11. Prior to the accident, the worker, according to OSHA, was removing a jam from under an open pneumatic concrete mixer discharge door. Once he released the jam, the door slammed shut on his head and neck, causing fatal, crushing injuries.
Included in the citations are alleged violations of:
- OSHA’s General Duty Clause Section 5(a)(1).
- Confined-space permit requirements.
- Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout).
Fabcon is contesting the violations.
2. Fortune Painting dba Fortune Restoration Painting & Masonry - Lincolnwood, Illinois
Total Proposed Fines: $299,825
After a planned inspection at a Fortune jobsite in Chicago, OSHA inspectors determined that the company allowed unsafe exposure to methylene chloride (paint thinner/stripper) and violated lead safety and cadmium standards.
OSHA proposed total fines of $299,825 for Fortune, which the agency cited for similar violations in 2014, and issued the company citations for six serious and 11 willful violations. Fortune is contesting the violations.
3. Mike Krueger dba Altogether Roofing - Martin, Ohio
Proposed Total Fines: $237,490
OSHA investigated one of Mike Krueger’s jobsites in Monclova Township, Ohio, in June and found that the roofing contractor violated general safety and health provisions of Standard 1926 and failed to provide adequate fall protection and fall protection training. The agency cited Krueger with three willful violations and fined him $237,490.
In October 2019, OSHA fined Altogether Roofing $247,544 for fall hazards. Those have been referred to debt collection, according to the agency (here and here).
4. Cracon Inc. - Houston, Texas
Total Proposed Fines: $224,382
In April, OSHA said that a Cracon employee and a coworker employed by a different contractor were installing a sewer pipeline for a commercial construction project. The Cracon employee entered the excavation to connect PVC pipe to the steel connector of the horizontal drill system when the pipe began to rotate violently, according to OSHA, as the coworker operated the drilling equipment.
The Cracon worker sustained fatal abdominal injuries after he was caught between the PVC pipe and the trench box and died after transport to the hospital.
OSHA proposed an initial fine of $224,382 for Cracon and cited the company with three serious and two willful violations related to general safety, protective system requirements for excavations and other excavation regulations. However, during an informal settlement, Cracon was able to negotiate a total fine of $90,000, as well as the removal of one serious and one willful violation.
5. Thomas Builders of Virginia - Forest, Virginia
Total Proposed Fines: $193,100
Status: Pending Abatement of Violations
In May, Virginia OSH, under an OSHA-approved state plan, investigated one of Thomas Builders' jobsites with an emphasis on scaffold safety and fall protection. The agency ended up issuing Thomas citations encompassing 12 violations — two willful and 10 serious.
Virginia OSHA said that Thomas violated the requirements that:
- Someone qualified to render first aid be on site.
- Employees wear protective head, eye and face protection.
- There be a competent person on site to oversee the setup and dismantling of scaffold.
- Employers use adequate fall protection systems to protect employees and train employees to use them.
- Employers ensure safe operation of extensible and articulating boom platforms.
6. Alva Interiors - Waterbury, Connecticut
Total Proposed Fines: $141,686
In May 2020, OSHA investigators responded to one of Alva Interiors' jobsites after one of its employees was killed by a steel truss when it collapsed and struck his head while he was cutting steel support pieces.
OSHA cited Alva for one willful and five serious violations and proposed total fines of $141,686. Alva’s violations included those related to hoisting and rigging, training, site-specific erection plans and structural steel assembly.
Through an informal settlement, Alva was able to negotiate its fine down to $75,000.
7. Industrial Insulation and Coatings - Girard, Ohio
Total Proposed Fines: $140,335
Status: Pending Penalty Payment
OSHA began its June investigation into Industrial Insulation and Coatings after three employees fell 40 feet from a roof while installing metal sheeting for a commercial project. One employee slipped and fell into two others, resulting in the death of one and the hospitalization of the remaining two.
After its investigation, which was focused on fall safety, OSHA cited the company for one serious and one willful violation and fined it $140,335. The serious violation fell under regulations regarding material handling equipment and for failure to secure a platform firmly to a lifting carriage and/or forks. The willful violation was for failure to provide adequate fall protection.
8. Riedman Cos. - Rochester, New York
Total Proposed Fines: $138,792
Status: Violations Under Contest
After an investigation of a Riedman jobsite in Corning, New York, the agency cited the company for one willful and two serious violations and proposed total fines of $138,792. Riedman has contested the violations.
OSHA alleged that Riedman failed to properly dispose of waste material from heights of 20 feet or more by using an enclosed chute; did not install a handrail for certain stairways as required; and did not protect employees working at heights of 6 feet or higher from falls with a guardrail system, safety net system or personal fall arrest system.
9. DJB Building & Construction - Glastonbury, Connecticut
Total Proposed Fines: $122,794
OSHA’s inspection emphasis was on cranes when it visited a DJB jobsite in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, in May.
The agency ended up citing the contractor with one willful and three serious violations for site layout, planning and sequencing infractions; not configuring routes so that no one is working below a suspended load; and failing to abide by safety regulations for those that find themselves working under a suspended load.
DJB was able to negotiate the penalty down to $80,000.