Federal safety officials have added, through mid-April, 21 new construction-industry cases to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Severe Violators Enforcement Program, according to a tabulation made by ENR.
About 60% of the 520 or so companies that OSHA has placed in the program are construction-related, reports Business Insurance, an industry publication. Listing in the program subjects employers to stepped-up inspections and enforcement. OSHA also issues critical press releases about the companies in the program, a practice some employer attorneys have described as public shamings.
Most are local or regional players, though some are well-known industry employers with years of successful work.
Wisconsin-based Lunda Construction Co. recently landed on OSHA’s list of severe violators for the second time in three years after an apprentice carpenter was killed working on a bridge project last fall. Earlier in the year, OSHA hit Lunda with $105,000 in proposed fines from one willful and five serious safety violations stemming from an accident last September.
Lunda’s first stint in the “severe violators” program came in 2013, when a truck driver died and another was seriously injured in a crane collapse near Oshkosh, Wis. Lunda officials could not be reached for comment on whether they are contesting the proposed penalty.
Another company that appears on the list is Flintlock Construction Services, a New York City-based general contractor that specializes in hotels and apartments. OSHA cited Flintlock in 2013 and again cited the company last year, following a complaint and inspection. Agency records show that Flintlock is contesting those proposed fines, but company officials could not be reached for comment.
Since 2010—when OSHA launched the “severe violators” program, which succeeded a previous program that it deemed a failure in dealing with repeat violators—the agency has expanded the numbers and types of employers that are subject to the program’s stepped-up inspections.
In addition to general contractors and construction managers, various types of specialty contractors are in the program, including steel erectors, tower erectors and roofing contractors.
OSHA has targeted Maine-based Lessard Brothers Construction for alleged repeat safety violations, including several related to fall protection.
The 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston has held Lessard in contempt for failing to pay the fines; in January, the court rejected a petition for a rehearing. In February, the court entered the judgment as a mandate, according to Ted Fitzgerald, spokesman for OSHA’s New England regional office. The U.S. Labor Dept.’s top lawyer is now reviewing the case and “determining the next appropriate steps,” the department notes in a press statement.
Meanwhile, back in January 2015, OSHA hit Lessard Brothers Construction with an additional $287,000 in fines for failing to provide workers with fall protection. Principals of the company could not be reached for comment.