- The Secret Advantage



Learn about the benefits of investing in U.S. Oil Exploration
  Home > Oil Gas News > OSHA Withdraws ‘Willful’ Citations Levied Against Waller Construction Company

OSHA Withdraws ‘Willful’ Citations Levied Against Waller Construction Company

OSHA withdraws all 'Willful' citations and significantly reduces the penalties issued to a south Texas construction company. The workplace related fatality at issue in the investigation was determined to be the result of employee misconduct, and not the fault of the employer.

Houston, Texas (PRWEB) November 8, 2005 -- The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has agreed to withdraw all citations classified as ‘Willful’ levied against Cotton Construction Inc., of Waller, Texas, and reclassified them as only ‘Serious’ violations. In addition, the Department reduced the penalty by more than $45,000 after reevaluating the citations issued to the company in an agreement reached on Thursday. OSHA originally cited Cotton Construction, Inc., for three ‘Willful’ citations and levied a fine of $70,800 following the investigation of a workplace fatality last January in Houston.

OSHA began its investigation on January 7, 2005 after it was initially believed a worker fell from the roof of a two story building due to a lack of appropriate fall protection. It was later revealed, however, that the worker had been assigned to work exclusively on the ground, but he apparently disregarded this order by climbing on the roof without being told to do so. Employee misconduct is a defense to OSHA liability in this circumstance. Each of the crew members who were performing the steel erection and roofing operation were, in fact, tied off to a fall protection system.

“The realization that the employer’s actions did not contribute to this man’s death was heavily influential in OSHA's decision to reduce the penalties, and withdraw the ‘Willful’ designation” said Cotton’s attorney Steve Grubbs, a labor and employment law litigation specialist in Houston, Texas. “OSHA knew that the ‘Willful’ classification would never be upheld, so they had no choice but to remove that characterization and reduce the penalties.”

Under the terms of the agreement reached with the Department of Labor, Cotton has agreed to submit to voluntary safety and health inspections for the next two years, and retain the services of a Certified Safety Professional to verify it is in compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The agreement was filed Thursday in OSHRC Docket No. 05-1153, Secretary of Labor v. Cotton Construction.

Back to Oil Gas News