6 of the biggest OSHA fines of Q1 2024

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A repeated lack of fall protection leading to a $1 million fine. A worker getting buried and killed in a collapsed trench resulting in a $300,000 penalty. And another $300,000 fine for a roofing contractor exposing workers to potential fatal falls. These were among the largest OSHA fines of Q1 2024.

OSHA publishes instances where it levies high fines to employers for failing to comply with safety requirements, as a means of highlighting standards.

These cases often involve builders on residential projects, frequently involving failure to provide fall protection. When OSHA sees those same companies repeatedly failing to adhere to its standards, citation amounts also increase. 

Additionally, companies can contest their initial fine amounts, meaning the numbers listed here do not always reflect the total amount collected by OSHA — if the agency manages to recoup the funds at all.

Here are some of the largest initial fines announced by OSHA in the first quarter of 2024: 

Adrian Construction Group
Fines: $1,017,248
Status: Issued

In February, OSHA cited a Paterson, New Jersey, contractor for repeatedly exposing workers to fall hazards. On an inspection of a Franklin Lakes, New Jersey, jobsite in July 2023, the agency issued six willful violations for lack of fall and eye protection, as well as four serious violations for unsafe scaffolds and failure to provide hardhats.

As a result, the framing contractor faced initial fines totaling over $1 million for the violations.

The agency has inspected Adrian Construction Group five times since 2016, it reported, and each instance resulted in a citation for failure to provide workers with fall protection. As a result, OSHA has added the company to its Severe Violators Enforcement Program. 

Adrian Construction Group did not respond to Construction Dive’s request for comment.

Pyles Plumbing and Utility Contractors
Fines: $308,125
Status: Contested

On Aug. 10, 2023, two employees of Pyles Plumbing and Utility Contractors were working in a trench box when the surrounding dirt collapsed and buried them, killing one 20-year-old worker and hospitalizing another, according to an OSHA report.

The Macon, Georgia, plumbing contractor faces two willful violations issued in March for not providing trench shields and neglecting to provide a safe exit to the trench box, as well as three serious violations for allowing workers to enter the trench without proper training or protection. 

As a result, Pyles Plumbing and Utility Contractors faced $308,125 in proposed penalties at the end of February. The company is contesting the fines. 

Pyles Plumbing and Utility Contractors did not respond to Construction Dive’s request for comment.

Brothers Construction Services
Fines: $306,229
Status: Issued

A Framingham, Massachusetts, roofing contractor saw citations pile up last quarter as OSHA alleges it again exposed workers to potentially fatal falls. In August, OSHA says, it observed workers at heights of up to 20 feet on a residential jobsite in Boston’s Hyde Park neighborhood.

As a result, Brothers Construction Services — also operating as Brothers Construction and Roofing or Brothers Roofing — faces $306,229 in penalties, issued in February. The fines come across eight citations: three willful, three repeat, one serious and one other-than-serious.

Brothers Construction, OSHA says, failed to provide fall protection and protective gear for exposed workers, to train employees about falls, to ensure ladders were placed and used safely and to have a competent person observing and inspecting the jobsite regularly for hazards.

The company did not respond to Construction Dive’s request for comment.

United Custom Homes
Fines: $264,143
Status: Contested

United Custom Homes, based in Oswego, Illinois, faces hefty fines after facing citations for seven previous violations since 2015, according to OSHA.

In August, inspectors observed workers on a Naperville, Illinois, residential jobsite working at heights of up to 20 feet without protective equipment. As a result, United Custom Homes faces one repeat, one willful, one serious and one other-than-serious citation. The violations say the company didn’t train employees, provide fall protection or use ladders properly.

All together, OSHA assessed $264,143 in proposed penalties across four citations issued in February. The high amount likely stems from OSHA claiming United Custom Homes owing $238,572 in unpaid penalties from previous citations.

United Custom Homes could not be reached for comment on the citations.

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