Employer Convicted & Sentenced For Lying to OSHA

September 2, 2015

An Alabama steel and roofing contractor lied to OSHA inspectors when he said that he obtained personal fall protection equipment before several employees were seriously injured, one resulting in an amputation, reports BLR Safety.

Three of the workers were seriously injured while working during a severe thunderstorm—one suffered an amputation when he was thrown against the edge of a new metal roof. A second worker was thrown across the roof and injured his shoulder, and a third man broke several bones in a fall after becoming wrapped in a sheet of metal and carried over the roof’s edge. None of the workers had been provided with fall protection, according to BLR.

OSHA cited the contractor for six violations, including a willful citation for failing to provide workers with fall protection as required. In May the employer pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements, and in August he was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and 30 hours of community service. 

BLR's Tips for Passing an OSHA Inspection:

  • Document details. Retain a set of all documents you provide to OSHA. If the compliance officer wants copies of various safety programs, ask for the request in writing.
  • Employee interviews. During an inspection OSHA may ask employees to voluntarily (unless subpoenaed) engage in an interview and may have someone else of their choosing present. OSHA often prefers that employees conduct the interview alone so that they will be more forthcoming about what management is doing or not doing and the presence of a management representative can help.
  • Enforcement timeline. The agency has six months from the time a violation occurs to issue citations and it’s rare to hear back in fewer than three months from OSHA following an inspection. Don’t assume until after the six months has passed that you’re in the clear.