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The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission on Monday affirmed an administrative law judge’s decision not to vacate the citations issued to a company based on an inspection by a U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration inspector whose credential card had expired.
In July 2012, Meadows Construction Co. L.L.C., a Newburyport, Massachusetts-based general contracting business, was issued a seven-item serious citation and a two-item repeat citation with a total proposed penalty of $32,800 for violations that included a lack of fall protection for workers while repairing a roof on a public school in Lowell, Massachusetts, according to the ruling.
After the inspector left the job site, a worker found his OSHA credential card, which had expired three weeks earlier.
The company argued that “because the (compliance officer)’s credential card was expired at the time of the inspection, he lacked the authority to enter the worksite, conduct the inspection, issue the citations and propose the penalties.”
An administrative law judge rejected this argument, finding that although the credential card was expired, the compliance officer’s “actual authorization to conduct inspections was never suspended, revoked, or expired,” the ruling states. The judge affirmed three of the seven serious citation items, including both repeat citation items, and assessed a total penalty of $24,400.
The only contested issue set before the commission was the expired credential card, according to the ruling.
Lawyers for Meadows Construction Co. could not be reached for comment.
James J. Sullivan Jr. was sworn in Monday as commissioner of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.