Those of you who were quick on the draw may have noticed that for a few minutes this afternoon I thought OSHA had begun issuing press releases again. Foolish me. The source of my confusion was a recent citation against Robert Barringer III for $223,873 for four willful and five serious violations dated February 14, 2017. And a $205,544 Barringer citation dated February 3 for 4 willful and 5 serious violations. When I did a search, I ran across a press release about Barringer for a $214,782 citation and somehow missed the fact that it was dated January 4 2017 — still during the Obama administration — for four willful and two serious violations. And then I started comparing it with a third Barringer citation from last August 17 for $89,100 for two willful, two repeated and six serious safety violations. Wait, what? No wonder I was confused.
Turns out that the most recent Barringer citation was the 22nd citation against Barringer since 2016 — most for failure to provide fall protection for the company’s workers. And just to top it off, as of last Fall — about $733,000 ago — Barringer had failed to pay $267,900 in federal penalties. Barringer doesn’t seem to believe in either workplace safety laws nor the law of gravity. And OSHA doesn’t seem to believe — at least yet — in publicizing the crimes of low-road employers.
This raises the question about what OSHA — or the courts — should do about employers that repeatedly fail to comply with the law, repeatedly fail to pay their fines and repeatedly endanger workers.
Oh, and in case something thinks that this is a case of an evil federal agency harassing a decent business owner about trivial items, statistics show falls cause four of every 10 deaths in the construction industry. More on OSHA’s Fall Prevention Campaign can be found here and much more information about fall prevention, courtesy of ELCOSH, here.