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An administrative law judge of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission upheld $344,960 in assessed fines for workplace safety violations against a Pennsylvania masonry contractor.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued six willful and three repeat citations against Lansdowne, Pennsylvania-based J.C. Stucco & Stone Inc. following two inspections in 2014, according to a press release issued by the agency on Wednesday.
OSHA said it has cited J.C. Stucco 41 times since 2011 for exposing workers to life-threatening scaffolding hazards. The agency also placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which focuses resources on inspecting employers who, according to the agency, have demonstrated indifference to their Occupational Safety and Health Act obligations through willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations.
The Labor Department and J.C. Stucco agreed to a partial settlement in which the company accepted the willful and repeat citations prior to a March 2016 hearing, meaning that the only issue before the judge was the appropriateness of the penalties proposed by OSHA, which the judge upheld, according to the press release.
"J.C. Stucco has a long history of leaving workers unprotected from incidents that can cause injuries and possible death and result from falls and unsafe scaffolding," Theresa Downs, OSHA area director in Philadelphia, said in a statement. "Workers should not have to risk their lives for the sake of a paycheck."
A company spokesman referred a request for comment to the company’s attorney, who could not be immediately reached for comment on whether the company plans to appeal the ruling to the full commission, which has until Dec. 7 to decide whether to review the judge’s order.
The independent commission adjudicates disputes between the U.S. Secretary of Labor and employers contesting fines assessed by OSHA, with disputes first heard by an administrative law judge and decisions reviewable by the full commission.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has ordered a Colorado maker of recreational equipment to pay a former employee more than $125,000 after finding the company retaliated against the employee for reporting safety concerns.