The heftiest OSHA citations levied against contractors in the second quarter of 2022 included fines worth hundreds of thousands of dollars — sometimes accumulating from multiple jobsite inspections.
From unsafe trenches to unaddressed fall hazards, read on about the largest fines OSHA issued to construction in Q2 2022.
Arrow Plumbing and Rick Smith
Blue Springs, Missouri-based contractor Arrow Plumbing and owner Rick Smith are contesting nearly $800,000 in fines from seven serious, four willful and one repeat violation following an inspection of a Grain Valley, Missouri, jobsite according to a Department of Labor release. OSHA issued the fines April 5.
OSHA inspectors at the jobsite in October 2021 said Arrow Plumbing willfully allowed workers to enter a trench without providing cave-in-protection. The agency said the employer also allowed water to accumulate, compromising the integrity of the excavation’s walls, and failed to keep solid piles from the edge. OSHA found the company also exposed workers to other hazards, including failing to provide hardhats and allowing them to walk under suspended loads.
Arrow Plumbing has a history of citations stemming from excavation-related hazards. Following a worker fatality investigation in 2016, the company settled with OSHA in 2018 and agreed to hire a safety consultant to design and implement a trench safety program. However, Arrow Plumbing did not hire any such consultant until February 2021, three years after it had promised to do so, OSHA said.
“Even though Arrow Plumbing and owner Rick Smith agreed to implement a comprehensive trench safety program after a previous fatal trench collapse, employees were again found to be working in an unprotected trench,” said Karena Lorek, OSHA area director for Kansas City, Missouri, in the release. “This conduct is unacceptable, and OSHA will do everything possible to hold Mr. Smith accountable for failing to protect his workers.”
Construction Dive called a publicly available number for Arrow Plumbing and did not receive response to a request for comment on the matter.
All Best Contractor Corp.
OSHA initiated six inspections at five All Best Contractor jobsites in southern New Jersey in fall 2021 and winter 2022. In each inspection, OSHA said it found the framing contractor did not provide workers doing sheathing and framing work on roofs with the proper or required fall protection. The agency said workers also used damaged, unsafe ladders and faced electrical hazards. Philadelphia-based All Best Contractor also failed to provide eye and head protection and train employees on forklift use, according to OSHA.
Across six inspections resulting in fines ranging from $101,519 to $321,956, OSHA cited the contractor April 14 with seven willful and 11 serious safety violations.
Construction Dive called a publicly available number for All Best Contractor, and, upon hearing identification as a news publication, the party on the other end hung up.
ARP Renovation/A.R.P. Roofing & Siding
On April 11, OSHA proposed over $500,000 in fines for a Maine contractor owned and operated by Andrew Raymond Pollock due to failure to provide fall protection and safety for employees. Pollock owns and operates both ARP Renovation and New Jersey-based A.R.P. Roofing & Siding. Citations include three egregious willful violations, five serious violations and one other-than-serious violation.
OSHA responded to reports of workers exposed to fall hazards while working on a residential project in Hampden, Maine, according to a release, where inspectors found at least five employees exposed to falls of 10 to 18 feet. The agency requires fall protection for residential construction when workers are above 6 feet.
After repeatedly informing Pollock of the requirement, his “continuously refusing to correct this hazard” led OSHA to issue a rare “imminent danger notice” on the jobsite, per the release.
OSHA said it also cited Pollock for fall-related hazards at New Jersey jobsites in 2014 and 2021.
In a phone call with Construction Dive, Pollock criticized OSHA for its practices, claiming the agency cares more about building a case against him than making jobsites safer.
“They don’t want to save people and stop people from being injured, they’d like to (expletive) put people out of business,” Pollock said.
Pollock downplayed the height at which his employees worked and indicated he had gotten written statements from those workers saying they were given harnesses. Pollock claimed OSHA took photos at inopportune times, when workers weren’t hooked in yet, and waited for the right moment to do so.
“[I’m not] saying I didn’t do nothing, I’m saying I did 66 in a 65 and I’m being charged with vehicular homicide,” Pollock said.
OSHA has proposed nearly $450,000 in fines for a Vail, Colorado-based builder for a Nov. 16 trench collapse in Breckinridge, Colorado, that led to the death of a worker. Workers were installing sewer pipes in a neighborhood when the excavation collapsed, OSHA said. Two employees reportedly managed to escape. OSHA discovered that “trench collapses at the site had occurred several times in the months prior,” according to a release.
A4S faces one serious and three willful violations for allegedly not inspecting the excavation and not having a protective system in place. OSHA placed the employer in its severe violator program. Construction Dive called a publicly available number for the company but received no response.
T.J. Campbell Construction
Edmond, Oklahoma-based asphalt and concrete paving contractor T.J. Campbell Construction faces $370,347 in fines for five serious, two willful and one other-than-serious violation stemming from a fatal November incident. According to OSHA, an 18-year-old worker cleared debris from a conveyor belt when the machinery suddenly started up again, pulling the worker into a silo with hot asphalt, resulting in burning and crushing injuries that led to the worker’s death.
An OSHA inspection allegedly discovered the system was not logged or tagged out for accidental starts, leading to the willful citations for lack of developed procedures for controlling such hazards.
Construction Dive reached out to T.J. Campbell but the contractor did not respond to request for comment.
During a November OSHA investigation, an inspector found Roselle, Illinois-based residential contractor Emerald Inc. exposed a foreman and roofer to deadly fall hazards. They allegedly worked at heights up to 22 feet with inadequate protection, and OSHA found Emerald failed to equip the workers with the proper protection and did not train workers properly. The agency issued a citation May 5 for one willful and five repeat violations, with fines totaling $263,226.
Emerald has a history of violating standards, OSHA said. The employer owes more than $378,000 in penalties from previous inspections dating back to 2018, and the company has not responded to some citations. OSHA has referred the unpaid penalties for debt collection.
Construction Dive contacted a publicly available number for Emerald but did not receive comment.
Level Edge Construction
A Dec. 19 OSHA inspection in response to a complaint found that Level Edge Construction exposed employees to fall hazards from heights as high as 14 feet at a PennDOT jobsite in Luzerne, Pennsylvania, the agency said. OSHA cited the Strasburg, Pennsylvania-based framing contractor for five serious and two willful violations for the hazard.
Construction Dive called a publicly available number for Level Edge Construction and did not receive response.
D Guerra Construction
Two workers employed by D Guerra Construction escaped from a partial trench collapse while installing a residential wastewater line on Oct. 23 in Austin, Texas, OSHA said. Hours later, after allegedly being told to return to the unprotected, 13-foot-deep trench to finish their work, the trench collapsed again. This time, the collapse killed one worker and badly injured another.
OSHA cited the Austin-based contractor for two serious, two willful and one other-than-serious violation as a result of the collapse.
“The loss of this worker’s life was preventable and the employer must be held responsible for ignoring excavation safety rules,” said OSHA Area Director Casey Perkins in Austin in a release.
D Guerra Construction declined to comment on the matter by the time of publication.