The latest OSHA enforcement activity from Region 1
James J. McCullagh, 60, of Meadowbrook, Penn., was charged by indictment in connection with the fatal fall of an employee, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger. McCullagh, who owns James J. McCullagh Roofing, is charged with with four counts of making false statements, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of willfully violating an OSHA regulation causing death to an employee.
According to the indictment, McCullagh failed to provide fall protection equipment to his employees. On June 21, 2013, one of McCullagh’s employees was killed after falling approximately 45 feet from a roof bracket scaffold while performing roofing work for McCullagh. In connection with the OSHA investigation of the fatality, McCullagh attempted to cover up his failure to provide fall protection by falsely stating, on four occasions, that he had provided fall protection equipment, including safety harnesses, to his employees. McCullagh told an OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officer that his employees had been wearing safety harnesses tied off to an anchor point when he saw them earlier in the day prior to the fall.
The indictment alleges that McCullagh knew that he had not provided fall protection to his employees and none of his employees had safety harnesses or any other form of fall protection. It is further alleged that McCullagh directed other employees to falsely state that they had fall protection, including safety harnesses, on the day of the fall.
If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison, three years of supervised release, $1.5 million in fines, and a $510 special assessment.
The case was investigated by OSHA and the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mary Kay Costello.
The acting OSHA regional administrator in Philadelphia Robert D. Kulick, issued the following statement about the case:
“Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry, and it’s no secret how critical fall protection is to saving worker’s lives. OSHA cited James J. McCullagh for not protecting his workers and not providing a safe work environment. We are hopeful that this indictment will lead to accountability for this unnecessary and totally preventable workplace fatality, and most importantly, that his family will finally see justice. “Employers who fail to fulfill their legal responsibilities to provide safe and healthy workplaces, who provide false statements to OSHA, and who coerce their employees to provide false statements will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Temp Staffing Firm Agrees to Make Changes to Protect Employees
A Tewksbury, Mass., company that supplies temporary employees to businesses has agreed to enhanced workplace safety and health protections for workers it places in all those businesses in a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor.
OSHA cited Marathon Staffing Services Inc. for a serious violation in December 2014 for not providing hearing tests for its employees exposed to high noise levels while working on assignment at Concrete Systems Inc. in Hudson, New Hampshire.
Under the terms of the agreement, Marathon will have a qualified safety and health professional review and update a checklist to address foreseeable safety and health concerns at client workplaces. The list will be used to conduct initial and periodic safety and health inspections or audits at client work sites to ensure working conditions meet OSHA standards.
Marathon will also provide comprehensive safety and health training for its account executives and sales representatives. The company will develop, with each of its clients, written contracts specifying their respective responsibilities to develop safety and health programs applicable to each workplace where Marathon will supply temporary employees. These terms echo OSHA’s recommended practice that temporary staffing agencies and host employers define and implement their respective roles designed to ensure compliance with applicable OSHA standards.
“This is an example of what suppliers of temporary employees should be doing,” said Kim Stille, OSHA’s regional administrator for New England. “Both host employers and staffing agencies have critical roles in complying with workplace health and safety requirements. They share responsibility for ensuring worker safety and health. Each employer should consider hazards it can prevent and correct, and no employer—whether a temporary staffing agency or a client company—should ever send an employee into harm’s way.”
“This settlement ripples beyond this one case. It is designed to enhance safety and health for hundreds of Marathon employees at numerous work sites in several states. Other suppliers and employers of temporary workers can and should take heed and ensure that all employees—permanent, short-term or day laborer—work in an environment that enables them to come home each day safe and healthy,” said Michael Felsen, the department’s regional solicitor of labor for New England.
Marathon Staffing Services Inc. operates in several states and is part of a Marathon Staffing network of connected offices that collectively place more than 15,000 temporary workers annually.
The settlement in this case was negotiated by senior trial attorney Susan Salzberg of the Regional Solicitor’s Office.
In April 2013, OSHA announced an initiative to improve workplace safety and health for temporary workers, who are at increased risk of work-related injury and illness. The initiative includes outreach, training and enforcement to ensure that temporary workers are protected in their workplaces. OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health have issued a “Recommended Practices” publication that focuses on ensuring that temporary workers receive the same training and protection that permanent employees receive.
Provant Health Solutions’ Employee Sustains Preventable Needlestick Injury
An East Greenwich, Rhode Island, company that conducts wellness clinics throughout the U.S. inadequately protected its employees against exposure from contaminated needlesticks and bloodborne pathogen hazards, an inspection by OSHA has found.
OSHA began an inspection of Provant Health Solutions LLC in November 2014, after an employee complained that a used needle punctured him as he unpacked a box in the company’s mailroom. The company ships clean needles and other medical supplies to clinics. After use, the contaminated needles are shipped in unmarked boxes back to the company’s headquarters for disposal by a private biohazard removal service.
OSHA inspectors determined that the packages in use did not effectively protect employees from needlesticks as boxes were unpacked. They also noted that needles could fall out of boxes into a shipping container, which happened at least twice. Boxes lacked required warning labels, and the company did not use an authorized carrier to return the contaminated needles to Provant’s headquarters. The company also lacked an effective program to minimize needlestick injuries. It also failed to train employees about hazards, as required, and did not record injuries properly.
“This company needlessly exposed its employees to preventable injuries and illnesses that can result from being punctured by contaminated needles and also lacked required safeguards,” said Patrick Griffin, OSHA’s area director for Rhode Island. “Unless Provant Health Solutions updates, changes and improves its handling of needles and other bloodborne pathogen hazards, its employees will remain at risk.”
The inspection has led OSHA to cite Provant for nine serious and one other-than-serious violation of OSHA standards. Proposed fines total $62,000.
Provant Health Solutions has more than 13,000 employees. The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.