April 19, 2023

9 of the biggest OSHA fines of Q1 2023

These OSHA fines show that not taking height and workplace safety seriously is dangerous and incredibly expensive too! The nine fines totalled a massive $3,312,006, with the biggest fine equaling $687,536 for lack of fall and head protection. Frustratingly, all of these fines could have been avoided with a dose of common sense and the right equipment we sell here at Star Industries.

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One fatality resulted in a $375,000 fine and the arrests of an employer and an equipment operator

Article originally published on Construction Dive by Zachary Phillips

As part of its attempt to raise awareness on safety standards and punish those who violate them, OSHA often names and publicizes cases that include high fine amounts.

In many instances, these citations include small residential builders with a history of repeatedly failing to provide adequate protection for workers. Fine amounts are often negotiated down when businesses contest them.

Here are some of the top fines highlighted by OSHA in the first quarter of 2023:

ALJ Home Improvement Inc.

Fines: $687,536  ⋅  Status: Contested

A Nanuet, New York-based roofing contractor faces nearly $700,000 in fines for lack of fall and head protection violations. Three employees of ALJ Home Improvement Inc. allegedly worked on an 18-foot-high roof without the required protection, according to OSHA. The contractor was hired to remove an existing roof and reinstall shingles on a residential project.

Two ALJ workers died on previous projects — one in 2019 and a second in 2022 — OSHA reported. The second fatality resulted in a $1.3 million fine. As part of its local emphasis program around fall protection, OSHA inspectors viewed the unprotected workers on a Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey, jobsite in August — six months after the second fatality.

For the latest infraction, the contractor faces four willful and four serious violations. ALJ is contesting the fines.

Construction Dive contacted a number listed on ALJ Home Improvement’s website with request for comment. The person who answered claimed it was a wrong number.

Guelsin Lima
(Extreme Roofing and Siding LLC)

Fines: $584,333  ⋅  Status: Issued

Trenton, New Jersey-based contractor Guelsin Lima faces 12 citations — nine willful and three serious — and half a million dollars in proposed penalties for allegedly exposing workers to fall hazards, improper ladder use and failure to provide head and eye protection, OSHA announced Jan. 12.

As part of a local emphasis program on falls, OSHA opened an investigation into Guelsin Lima, operating as Extreme Roofing and Siding LLC, on an Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, worksite in July. During the inspection, OSHA allegedly observed four workers exposed to a 30-foot drop without fall protection. Guelsin Lima was employed as a roofing subcontractor on a Toll Brothers Inc. residential project. The agency announced the fines Jan. 12.

Guelsin Lima has had similar fines recently, contributing to the high dollar amount of the fine. In September, OSHA fined the contractor over $118,000 for lack of fall protection.

The company has no public website or publicly available phone number, so it could not be reached for comment by Construction Dive.

Bowers Excavating LLC

Fines: $505,333  ⋅  Status: Issued

A Mandan, North Dakota, company is facing fines over half a million dollars after it allegedly failed to provide proper protection to workers in trenches, OSHA reported. The agency opened three inspections within 32 days in September and October — two in Bismarck, North Dakota, and one in Mandan. The inspections resulted in three willful, four repeat and one serious violation.

Twice in 2022, OSHA alleges, the owner of Bowers Excavating piloted an excavator, supervising employees below while they installed municipal water lines as deep as 10 feet without protection. The agency found Bowers failed to use adequate protection or safe means of entering and exiting the trenches, did not keep soil piles far enough from the trenches and failed to protect workers from hazards resulting from water accumulating.

In July, OSHA launched a national emphasis program on trenches following 39 trench-related deaths in 2022.

Bowers Excavating has no public website or publicly available phone number, so it could not be reached for comment by Construction Dive.

Domingos 54 Construction Inc.

Fines: $464,079  ⋅  Status: Issued

On Sept. 24, an OSHA inspector reportedly observed employees of Ocala, Florida-based Domingos 54 Construction Inc. working on a 15-foot-high residential roof without fall safety gear, according to the agency. In addition, OSHA said the company had failed to train employees to ensure they had a clear understanding of methods to control fall hazards, and found employees continuing to work without required eye protection.

The agency said it completed 11 inspections of Domingos 54 Construction jobsites since February 2019, identifying four willful, eight repeat, 19 serious and four other-than serious violations, many due to lack of fall protection. In March 2020, a 53-year-old employee suffered a 10-foot fatal fall from the roof of a Tampa residence on a Domingos 54 Construction project.

As a result of the most recent inspection in September, Domingos 54 Construction faces three willful and one repeat violation, totaling $464,079.

The contractor has no public website or publicly available phone number, so it could not be reached for comment by Construction Dive.

Ridge Runner Construction LLC

Fines: $234,741  ⋅  Status: Contested

Derry, New Hampshire-based roofing contractor Ridge Runner Construction LLC faces over $230,000 in fines from citations across two different projects. The alleged violations pertain to exposing workers to a 20-foot fall, ladders that didn’t extend at least 3 feet above the roofs’ edges, failure to provide effective fall protection training and lack of eye and face protection.

All told, for alleged failures in safety on Merrimack and Salem, New Hampshire, jobsites, Ridge Runner Construction faces 12 violations: five serious, two willful and five repeat. OSHA previously cited the contractor for lack of fall protection in 2021 and 2017. Ridge Runner Construction is contesting the fines.

A representative of Ridge Runner declined to comment on the citation.

Security-Luebke Roofing Inc.
and JJ Roofing Co.

Fines: $168,759  ⋅  Status: Issued

An Appleton, Wisconsin, roofing general contractor and a Kaukauna, Wisconsin, subcontractor face fines for allegedly exposing nine workers to falls on an Appleton jobsite, according to OSHA. Security-Luebke Roofing Inc. and Jesus Robles Hernandez — operating as JJ Roofing Co. — face fines of $140,633 and $28,126 respectively.

Representatives of Security-Luebke Roofing were on site while JJ Roofing employees were working without fall protection, according to OSHA. The general contractor also reportedly failed to conduct a comprehensive site audit and ensure the subcontracting employees wore fall protection. JJ Roofing faces penalties for failing to train workers on fall protection, for which OSHA also cited the company in 2018 and 2020.

Security-Luebke Roofing did not respond to Construction Dive’s request for comment. JJ Roofing has no publicly available website or phone number, so it could not be reached for comment by Construction Dive.

Geis Construction Inc.

Fines: $154,696  ⋅  Status: Contested

A Streetsboro, Ohio-based contractor faces over $150,000 in fines for an October fatality. When a 51-year-old painting contractor at an apartment complex in Cleveland stepped onto a balcony, it tilted suddenly and caused him to fall 21 feet below. The balcony then slid off its wall mount and landed on top of the painter, who died as a result of his injuries.

According to OSHA, general contractor Geis Construction — as well as subcontractor J.C. Jones Corp. of Peninsula, Ohio, which installed the balcony — had not placed the required warning sign to alert workers of danger, nor assess the balcony’s structural integrity.

Geis Construction and J.C. Jones each face one serious and one willful violation. OSHA recommended $31,252 in fines for the balcony subcontractor. Geis is contesting the fines.

Geis Construction did not respond to Construction Dive’s request for comment.

The Roof Kings LLC

Fines: $137,508  ⋅  Status: Contested

On Dec. 8, OSHA says it viewed two workers on a Quincy, Massachusetts, jobsite exposed to falls of 18 feet without adequate fall protection. The roofing contractor who employed the workers, The Roof Kings LLC, reportedly has a history of not protecting its employees from falls, and OSHA claims the company reneged on a 2017 federal settlement agreement.

As a result, The Roof Kings faces over $137,000 in fines for four willful violations. The contractor is contesting the fines.

Craig Galligan, owner of The Roof Kings, told Construction Dive the contractor has been working with OSHA to settle the fines, and hired a safety specialist “basically full-time” for the next four years to observe and meet with employers before work starts every day on safety requirements, as part of the agreement with OSHA.

“We’re going over above and beyond what we need to do for all the OSHA requirements,” Galligan said.

Botticello Inc.

Fines: $375,021 — Criminal Charges  ⋅  Status: Contested

As a result of a federal investigation into a trench collapse that caused one worker’s death, Manchester, Connecticut-based Botticello Inc. faces over $375,000 in fines. Last month, the company owner and an equipment operator were arrested and face criminal charges.

On July 22, an employee died when an 8-foot-deep trench collapsed in Vernon, Connecticut. Botticello, a site preparation contractor, allegedly failed to provide the required safeguards required to prevent the collapse. As a result, the company faces three willful violations, which it is contesting. The company previously faced four serious violations from trenching work in 2015, according to OSHA.

OSHA alleges the company failed to:

  • Provide the trench with a protective system to prevent it from collapsing and caving in on workers.
  • Have a competent person conduct inspections before and during the work to identify and correct any hazardous conditions before employees entered the trench.
  • Ensure the 135-foot-long trench contained sufficient means of egress to allow employees to safely exit.

On March 3, as a result of the investigation, the Vernon Police Department arrested Dennis Botticello, owner of Botticello Inc., and Glen Locke, an equipment operator, on charges of first-degree manslaughter and first-degree reckless endangerment, as a result of the July 22 fatality.

A representative of the company declined to comment.