November 23, 2016
LANSDOWNE, Pa. – An administrative law judge recently affirmed nine cited federal safety and health violations and assessed $344,960 in fines against Lansdowne masonry contractor, J.C. Stucco and Stone. This follows a March 2016, hearing regarding six willful and three repeat citations issued after two 2014 inspections by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
The independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission adjudicates disputes between the U.S. Secretary of Labor and employers that contest OSHA violations. These disputes are heard in the first instance by an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) whose decisions are reviewable by the full Commission.
The company – which OSHA has cited 41 times since 2011 for exposing workers to life-threatening scaffolding hazards – sought and was given a hearing by the commission in March 2016. The parties entered into a partial settlement agreement prior to the hearing, whereby J.C. Stucco agreed to accept the willful and repeat citation items as issued. As such, the only issue before the ALJ was the appropriateness of the penalties proposed by OSHA in 2014.
“J.C. Stucco has a long history of leaving workers unprotected from incidents that can cause injuries and possible death and result from falls and unsafe scaffolding,” said Theresa Downs, OSHA area director in Philadelphia. “Workers should not have to risk their lives for the sake of a paycheck.”
In 2011, OSHA placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program for multiple instances of repeated, high-gravity violations.
“This action demonstrates our commitment to take aggressive action when an employer repeatedly ignores its responsibilities regarding the health and safety of its workers,” said Oscar L. Hampton III, regional solicitor in Philadelphia.
The parties have until Nov. 27, 2016, to appeal the ALJ’s decision, and the commission has until Dec. 7, 2016, to determine whether to review the judge’s order.
To ask questions, obtain compliance assistance, file a complaint, or report workplace hospitalizations, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, the public should call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-OSHA (6742) or the agency’s Philadelphia Area Office at 215-597-4955.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.