Is OSHA Enforcement Fair Across the Board?
Since 1970, OSHA’s mission has been “to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.” While the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has undoubtedly saved lives in their mission, many construction companies feel that their businesses have been needlessly targeted by the administration. Does OSHA really treat all worksites equally?
In this article, we discuss OSHA’s increased focus on contractors in Florida. As we’ll see below, OSHA may not be “enforcing standards” equally. If your construction company has been given massive repeat fines, consult the Florida OSHA defense lawyers from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants.
Here’s how it happens: an OSHA compliance officer will drive by a construction site and catch a glimpse of a worker not complying with OSHA regulations. Often, this offender is a roofer operating without a personal fall arrest system. Remember, employers must provide fall protection to anyone working at a height of 6 feet or more. Even if fall protection was provided, OSHA will fine this employer for their employee’s negligence. However, many employers are finding this practice anything less than fair.
As NBC2 News reports, construction companies across Florida are pushing back against OSHA operation methods. Construction companies, especially roofing companies, are coming to find that, despite their best efforts, they are being labeled willful or repeat offenders by OSHA and given harsher fines. “To keep fining the employer for actions that are purposely done by the employee is not making them safer,” said one roofing company’s safety director. “What's going to happen is that we won't be able to be in business anymore and those employees are going to work for someone that guess what is not going to be as safety conscientious as we are.”
The above quote highlights a serious problem within the industry. You can do everything in your power to provide a hazard-free work environment for your workers, but it doesn’t mean much in the eyes of OSHA if your workers themselves are creating an unsafe work environment. As we’ve covered previously, OSHA can administer $132,598 fines per violation for willful or repeated offenses. While these fines are warranted in severe cases, there are many cases in which these fines are undeserved and serve little purpose other than to bankrupt a construction company.
If you’ve done your best to remain compliant with OSHA regulations, don’t sit back while your company is unfairly targeted. Consult the Florida OSHA defense lawyers from Cotney Attorneys & Consultants who can represent your company and push back against unwarranted OSHA fines.
If you would like to speak with one of our Florida OSHA defense attorneys, please contact us today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.