Federal judge affirms US Department of Labor citations, penalties against Bergen County construction contractor for willfully exposing workers to falls
PALISADES PARK, NJ – An administrative law judge with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission affirmed willful, repeat and serious citations issued by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to Framing Specialist Inc., a Palisades Park construction contractor, who exposed workers to fall and safety hazards at two Bergen County work sites.
The judge ordered the company to pay $45,590 in penalties for all violations.
In December 2019, OSHA inspected Framing Specialist Inc. and subsequently issued citations to the company for not providing fall protection, allowing unsafe ladder use, and failing to ensure eye protection at a Cliffside Park worksite. Inspectors identified one repeat and three serious violations with $15,904 in proposed penalties there.
A second OSHA inspection in February 2020 at a Palisades Park worksite found the company again exposing workers to fall hazards. The company faced an additional $8,096 in proposed penalties for one repeat violation. Framing Specialist contested the citations and penalties from both inspections.
During litigation, the department amended the repeat citation from the second inspection to a willful violation and proposed an increased penalty of $29,686, which the judge also affirmed.
“Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry and exposing workers to fall hazards is an all-too-common and dangerous violation,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson in New York. “Framing Specialist Inc. repeatedly put its employees at risk while failing to uphold its obligation to provide a safe workplace.”
“When employers ignore their safety responsibilities, the Department of Labor will actively pursue legal measures to protect the lives and well-being of workers,” said Regional Solicitor of Labor Jeffrey S. Rogoff in New York.
OSHA’s Hasbrouck Heights Area Office conducted the inspections. Trial Attorney Amanda Wilmsen with the regional Office of the Solicitor in New York litigated the case for OSHA.
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 help ensure these conditions for America's workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.