DOL in Action
Texas Oil Company Fined Following Worker Electrocution
Tye, Texas-based Ringo Drilling I LP has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with serious and repeat safety violations after an employee was electrocuted while performing repair work on an oil drilling rig at the company's Ozona, Texas, worksite. Proposed penalties total $130,200.
N.J. Gas Station Workers Receive More Than $1 Million in Back Wages
The Wage and Hour Division has recovered $1,014,895 in back wages for 295 gas station workers throughout New Jersey who were denied fair compensation for their work. As part of a multi-year enforcement initiative focused on the industry, the division conducted 74 investigations of New Jersey gas station facilities during fiscal year 2011. The department's initial findings revealed a culture of noncompliance; the Wage and Hour Division will continue to monitor this industry.
Knoxville Transportation Company Ordered to Reinstate Whistleblower
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered Knoxville-based Heartland Transportation Inc. to reinstate a former employee and pay the individual $62,090 in compensatory and punitive damages plus more than two years of back wages, interest, benefits and reasonable attorney's fees. The order follows OSHA's determination that the company, which is a contract mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, violated the employee's rights under the whistleblower provisions of the Surface Transportation Assistance Act by terminating the employee for complaining about defective vehicles.
Guam Golf Club Cited for Workplace Hazards
Guam International Country Club has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 17 safety violations following an inspection at the club's maintenance shop in Dededo, Guam. Among the violations found by investigators were multiple electrical hazards, including exposing workers to live electrical parts. Proposed fines total $32,900.
Texas Computing Co. to Restore Workers' Pension Funds
An investigation by the Employee Benefits Security Administration found that employee contributions to the Plano, Texas-based DS3 Computing Solutions Inc. 401(k) Plan were not timely remitted, violating provisions of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. The department entered a consent judgment and order in federal district court requiring that the company and owner restore all monetary losses with interest to the pension plan. Further, the company is enjoined from violating ERISA in the future and must pay a penalty equal to 20 percent of the amount to be restored to the plan.
Illinois Construction Firm Penalized for Fall Hazards
Gire Construction Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for six violations, including five willful infractions, for failing to provide fall protection to roofers working on commercial and residential projects. The Champaign, Ill.-based company faces penalties totaling $144,100 as a result of four separate safety inspections. OSHA initiated an inspection under a local emphasis program for fall hazards.
MSHA Slaps 11 Mines With 226 Citations
Eleven mines from around the country were the subject of impact inspections last month. The Mine Safety and Health Administration issued 226 citations and orders during the latest round of targeted inspections, including five withdrawal orders and two citations at Abner Branch Rider Mine in Leslie County, Ky. The underground coal mine is one of only two mining operations ever to have been placed on a pattern of violations. During October’s inspection, inspectors found loose, unsupported drawrock and coal ribs, accumulations of combustible material, and the operator’s failure to conduct a pre-shift examination of the active mining section.
Odom Industries Cited for Altering Injury and Illness Logs
The department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Odom Industries in Milford, Ohio, for 38 safety and health violations, including three willful violations for allegedly amending the company's OSHA 300 injury and illness logs. OSHA initiated an inspection of the fabrication plant after receiving a complaint alleging that injured workers were moved to other jobs to avoid recordable injuries on the logs. Proposed fines total $90,760.
New Initiative to Crack Down on N.C. Agricultural Violations
Since 2008, the Wage and Hour Division's Raleigh District Office has conducted more than 260 investigations of agricultural operations in North Carolina. However, violations continue, so the district office has begun a new initiative focused on producers of hand-harvested crops, an industry where WHD previously has found widespread labor violations.
Remington Arms Cited for Mechanical, Electrical and Chemical Hazards
Remington Arms Co. Inc. has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 35 alleged serious violations of workplace safety and health standards at its Ilion, N.Y., manufacturing plant. The firearms manufacturer faces a total of $170,000 in proposed penalties for a variety of mechanical, electrical and chemical hazards identified during inspections by OSHA's Syracuse Area Office.
Missouri Union Official Sentenced for Wire Fraud
Charles McDaniel, former general chairman of the United Transportation Union's General Committee of Adjustment 341 in St. Joseph, Missouri, was sentenced to five years probation last week and ordered to pay more than $68,000 in restitution for embezzlement. McDaniel pleaded guilty in April to wire fraud after an Office of Labor-Management Standards investigation found he defrauded the union by submitting false and duplicated expense claims.
New Jersey Sponge Processor Fined for Safety Violations
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Supply Plus NJ Inc. for 25 serious, one willful and two other-than-serious safety violations for failing to guard machines and exposing workers to fall and electrical hazards at the company's facility in Paterson, N.J. Proposed penalties are $126,000. Additional violations found through OSHA's investigation included failure to develop a written hazardous communication program, provide personal protective equipment for workers handling chemicals, and keep required records.
United Contracting Fined $149,200 for 14 Safety Violations
United Contracting in Wis., has been cited by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for 14 safety violations, including willful violations for failing to provide a scaffold designed by a qualified person and fall protection for workers at two separate job sites in Fond du Lac. Proposed fines total $149,200. The inspection was initiated after an OSHA compliance officer saw a worker, who was part of a bridge painting crew, straddling the parapet of a highway bridge overpass at Scott Street and U.S. Highway 41.