Biggest 2022 OSHA Fines

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Biggest 2022 OSHA Fines

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Construction Surety Bonds and Violations

During a construction project, a variety of events might occur that may cause the project to be delayed or cost taxpayers more than originally budgeted. Construction bonds (sometimes known as contractor bonds) protect the finances of everyone involved. To be a great candidate for various surety bonds, you must have a good track record and show you complete projects on time and without risk. One way to do that is to stay up to date with violations and infractions to avoid. Below, we have compiled 2022’s worst OSHA violations to be aware of.

Types of OSHA Violations

The list below shows the types of violations as of January 15, 2022, for OSHA fines and the maximum penalty amount for each. The penalty amounts are adjusted annually for inflation.

Type of Violation/Penalty

  • Serious ($14,502 per violation)
  • Other-Than-Serious ($14,502 per violation for repeat violations; no penalty for a first violation)
  • Posting Requirements ($14,502 per violation for repeat violations; no penalty for the first violation)
  • Failure to Abate ($14,502 per day beyond the abatement date)
  • Willful or Repeated ($14,027 per violation)

Penalties may be adjusted on the basis of the seriousness and willfulness of the violation.

Some states, such as the state of Washington, operate their own Occupational Safety and Health Plan and are required to adopt maximum penalty levels comparable to those of the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

10 Most Common OSHA Workplace Violations

For the twelfth year in a row, fall protection violations topped the list of the most common OSHA workplace violations. The following workplace standards were reported by the National Safety Council (NSC) as the most commonly violated ones during OSHA’s 2022 fiscal year, which ended on September 30.

  1. Fall Protection – General Requirements: 5,260 violations
  2. Hazard Communication: 2,424 violations
  3. Respiratory Protection: 2,185 violations
  4. Ladders: 2,143 violations
  5. Scaffolding: 2,058 violations
  6. Lockout/Tagout: 1,977 violations
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks: 1,749 violations
  8. Fall Protection – Training Requirement: 1,556 violations
  9. Personal Protective and Lifesaving Equipment – Eye and Face Protection: 1,401 violations
  10. Machine Guarding: 1,370 violations

Biggest 2022 OSHA Fines

Some of the violations listed below remain contested, while others have been settled. In a couple of cases, citations have been issued but have not yet been contested or settled.

  1. The highest fine imposed in 2022 was in the amount of $1,201,031. That citation remains contested. The citation was for four serious violations and nine willful violations stemming from an August 2021 accident in which a worker fell 18 feet from a roof, through an unprotected skylight, to his death. The New York company was also cited for exposing workers to another 22-foot unprotected fall hazard and for not providing workers with personal fall protection equipment. Since 2011, the company has been cited numerous times for not providing fall protection and for other violations and now meets the criteria for mandatory enrollment in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
  2. Another high fine, $1,090,231, was levied against a roofing contractor based in Ohio that is contesting the citation for six egregious-willful violations, five repeat violations, and one serious violation related to failing to comply with fall protection standards. Workers were operating on the roof of a building in Virginia at heights of up to 28 feet without the required fall protection. This was the contractor’s twelfth violation since 2009, which resulted in the company being placed on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
  3. Another contested citation is for fines in the amount of $788,000 imposed by Washington State OSHA on a roofing company based in Snohomish, Washington. The 2022 fine is for five willful violations, one repeat violation, and one other-than serious violations that were uncovered during a February 2022 inspection. However, the company racked up about $2.5 million in fines in the past three years for violating OSHA’s fall safety standard.
  4. A roofing contractor in Olympia, Washington, was assessed a penalty of $305,254, which is being contested. The company is considered a severe violator for numerous violations of fall protection standards since 2009, resulting in more than $500,000 in penalties.
  5. An Illinois framing contractor was fined $303,105 for three repeat, two willful, and one serious violation for exposing workers to deadly fall hazards by having them work at heights of up to 13 feet without guardrails or ramps. Though the company has contested the citation, it appears to be temporarily closed, with unpaid fines owed as far back as 2018.
  6. Washington State OSHA cited a contractor for three serious and two willful violations and imposed a fine of $283,864 stemming from the death of a worker who fell 60 feet from a bridge deck to the ground. The company is contesting the fines for a lack of safety enforcement and fall protection and for not having a rescue boat and other rescue equipment available while workers were repairing a bridge spanning the Columbia River.

All of the top six fines were imposed for violations related to fall prevention standards. Of the remaining six cases, three involved violations of safety standards for deep excavation trenches, including one resulting in the death of a worker at the bottom of a trench when a retaining wall collapsed on him. And the last three cases involved violations related to inadequate fall prevention and improper use of ladders.

Contractors with a history of OSHA violations such as these may have trouble obtaining performance safety bonds in the future.

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