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18 Nov, 2020

Workplace Safety–the Unpreventable Employee Misconduct Defense

2020-11-14T10:08:22-06:00November 18th, 2020|Construction Contractor Advisor, OSHA|

Just because an employee gets hurt on the job does not mean you are facing an OSHA penalty.  Employers have a defense to an OSHA citation when the violation of a safety rule was due to unpreventable employee misconduct. However, proving this defense requires substantial planning, well before an incident or investigation. Unpreventable Employee Misconduct Defense OSHA requires that an employer do everything reasonably within its power to ensure that [...]

21 May, 2014

DBE Violations Can Be Costly—A lesson in what not to do.

2018-04-23T23:55:14-05:00May 21st, 2014|Construction Contractor Advisor, Disadvantaged Business Enterprises|

The federal government takes very seriously the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) regulations. When a contractor hires a DBE, the DBE must do the work with minimal involvement or control by the general contractor. A Chicago based contractor, James McHugh Construction, decided to ignore the regulations and hired a DBE that it could control and used them as pass-throughs in order to obtain over $156 million in projects. McHugh won the [...]

24 Sep, 2013

Sweeps Week for OSHA

2018-04-23T23:55:16-05:00September 24th, 2013|Construction Contractor Advisor, OSHA|

OSHA has a sweeps week. Who knew? For two weeks during the year, OSHA inspectors blitz Omaha and greater Nebraska work sites to make sure OSHA’s safety programs are being observed. Unfortunately, we don’t know which week OSHA will conduct its sweep. Darwin Craig, Area Director for OSHA, spoke at the Associated Builders and Contractors lunch meeting this month. Mr. Craig discussed OSHA’s various procedures and emphasis programs. Below are [...]

26 Jun, 2012

A $741,000 EPA Penalty Based on a Company’s own Documents? Ouch.

2012-06-26T16:49:45-05:00June 26th, 2012|EPA, Penalty|

A national homebuilder was recently slapped with a $741,000.00 fine for Clean Water Act violations. This is obviously a substantial penalty, and I wonder whether it could have been avoided. The EPA filed suit against national homebuilder, Toll Brothers, alleging over 600 storm water violations. The violations were discovered through site inspections and the EPA’s review of documentation submitted by Toll Brothers. You read that correctly, documentation submitted by the [...]

3 May, 2012

Are DBEs performing a “Commercially Useful Function” on Your Project?

2012-05-03T16:39:18-05:00May 3rd, 2012|Disadvantaged Business Enterprises|

A recent press release from the U.S. Attorney in New York drives home the point that in 2012, it is still incredibly important to make sure your company is legitimately utilizing Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) on your work site. The $7.5 million penalty paid by the two general contractors involved in the joint venture also illustrates the continuing seriousness with which the government is treating the use of DBEs. The [...]

17 Nov, 2011

OSHA is Still Slapping Companies with Big Fines

2011-11-17T15:05:07-06:00November 17th, 2011|Nebraska Construction, OSHA, Penalty|

Last month, OSHA visited America’s Fiberglass Animals in Minden for a follow-up visit. To put it lightly, the follow-up visit did not go well. OSHA slapped America’s Fiberglass Animals with nearly $170,000.00 in penalties. This hefty penalty certainly makes me wonder how you are doing in your OSHA compliance. Here is a breakdown of the penalties. They fell into three categories: • $63,000.00 related to fines for failure to abate [...]

6 Jul, 2011

If you didn’t think OSHA regulations were a big deal . . .

2011-07-06T11:48:00-05:00July 6th, 2011|OSHA, Penalty|

For those of you who have been following the Robert Knapp/Equitable Building saga in Des Moines, it appears to have finally come to an end. By way of background, Mr. Knapp was accused of violating the Clean Air Act and a number of OSHA regulations when he had employees remove asbestos without wearing appropriate protective equipment. Mr. Knapp agreed to pay of $500,000.00 fine for regulatory violations. Mr. Knapp also [...]

11 May, 2011

OSHA Holds True on its Promise to Increase Penalties

2011-05-11T13:43:57-05:00May 11th, 2011|Construction Law, OSHA, Penalty|

I’m sure you all recall OSHA’s big press release last year when it announced revisions to its penalty framework to increase penalties.  Well, OSHA is now using the revised framework and the penalties are stiff.    A review of OSHA penalties in Region 7, covering Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska, shows significant penalties.  A stucco company in Kansas was fined $147,000 for two repeat and one serious violation where employees [...]

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