Federal agencies Statistics Fines/penalties OSHA Infographics

OSHA’s Top 10 most cited violations for FY 2020


Penalty Box

This list of OSHA’s highest proposed monetary penalties in fiscal year 2020 comprises those stemming from a single incident or related incidents in which one or more employers are alleged to have failed to adhere to safe work practices. These failures put workers at risk – in some cases fatally. The following information was gathered from press releases issued by federal OSHA between Oct. 1, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2020.

(Note: Dollar amounts may be reduced as part of a settlement agreement or litigation.)

$1.997 million

EMPLOYER: BB Frame LLC (operating as Frame Q and as Juan Quevedo)
LOCATIONS: Cliffside Park, Fort Lee and Palisades Park, NJ (OSHA Region 2)
BUSINESS TYPE: Framing contractor
INSPECTION TRIGGERS: Complaint (Cliffside Park I and Palisades Park), planned inspection (Fort Lee) and local emphasis program for fall hazards (Cliffside Park II and Palisades Park)
EVENT: OSHA conducted five investigations at four jobsites in Bergen County, NJ, and determined the employer exposed workers to numerous safety hazards, including those related to a lack of fall protection and ladder safety. In February, the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit contending that Frame Q had failed to pay the Department of the Treasury more than $678,000 in civil penalties and delinquency fees for violations incurred from 2013 to 2017. Although Quevedo, the owner and principal, dissolved Frame Q on the heels of the lawsuit, according to a June 10 agency press release, he continued operating as Frame Q under the BB Frame corporate entity. A series of inspections conducted from December 2019 to February 2020 revealed multiple additional violations.
MAJOR CITATIONS: BB Frame was cited for 13 serious, 12 repeat and eight willful violations.
QUOTE: “This employer’s extensive history of egregious disregard for the safety of workers will not be tolerated. Employers are required by law to provide workers with safe and healthful workplaces.” – Richard Mendelson, OSHA regional administrator in New York


$1.591 million

EMPLOYER: AB Specialty Silicones LLC
LOCATION: Waukegan, IL (OSHA Region 5)
BUSINESS TYPE: Silicon chemical products manufacturer
EVENT: After an explosion and fire at an AB Specialty Silicones plant killed four workers, OSHA inspectors found that the employer failed to ensure electrical equipment and installations within the production area were compliant with the agency’s electrical standards and approved for hazardous 
locations. OSHA also reported that the employer created a potential for ignition by operating liquid propane-powered forklifts to transport volatile flammable liquids in areas in which workers handled and processed volatile flammable liquids and gases.
MAJOR CITATIONS: The company was cited for 12 willful violations and placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
QUOTE: “An employer’s adherence to safety and health standards, including the proper use of electrical equipment and forklifts when handling flammable liquids, is critical to preventing fire, explosions and other incidents that can seriously or fatally injure workers.” – Nancy Hauter, acting OSHA regional administrator in Chicago


$1.007 million

EMPLOYER: Florida Roofing Experts Inc.
LOCATIONS: Fleming Island and Middleburg, FL (OSHA Region 4)
BUSINESS TYPE: Roofing contractor
EVENT: OSHA responded to complaints that workers at three jobsites – two in Fleming Island and one in Middleburg – were engaged in residential reroofing activities without using fall protection. According to a Jan. 14, 2020, agency press release, OSHA had inspected the employer and its predecessor 19 times in the past seven years.
MAJOR CITATIONS: OSHA cited the employer with eight willful violations involving failure to protect workers from fall hazards. OSHA also placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
QUOTE: “This employer has an extensive OSHA history with willful, serious and repeat violations that has demonstrated an egregious disregard for the safety of their workers. The employer continues to allow employees to work without fall protection, and has made no reasonable effort to eliminate the risk.” – Kurt Petermeyer, OSHA regional administrator in Atlanta



EMPLOYER: Webb Contractor Corp.
LOCATIONS: Bethlehem, Emmaus and Macungie, PA (OSHA Region 3)
BUSINESS TYPE: Roofing contractor
INSPECTION TRIGGERS: Complaint (Macungie and Bethlehem) and referral (Emmaus)
EVENT: After a compliance officer witnessed workers at a jobsite in Macungie performing residential roofing operations without fall protection, the employer voluntarily agreed to remove workers from the hazard. Less than a month later, however, the agency responded to complaints of fall hazards at a worksite in Emmaus before being referred to a hazardous jobsite in Bethlehem.
MAJOR CITATIONS: The employer was cited for eight willful, two repeat and three serious violations involving failure to provide fall protection and exposing workers to safety hazards.
QUOTE: “Employers must ensure that employees working from heights are provided and wear proper fall protection. OSHA has educational resources readily available to help employers understand how to comply with the law.” – Loren Sweatt, then-acting OSHA administrator



EMPLOYER: Dana Railcare
LOCATION: Pittston, PA (OSHA Region 3)
BUSINESS TYPE: Rail car service provider
EVENT: In May 2019, a worker was asphyxiated while servicing a rail car containing crude oil sludge. Inspectors found that the employer failed to protect workers from confined space hazards and did not provide adequate respiratory protection.
MAJOR CITATIONS: Dana Railcare was cited for four willful and three serious violations and placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
QUOTE: “This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had followed proper safety procedures for entering and cleaning rail cars. Employers that fail to comply with the law will continue to see full and fair enforcement.” – Sweatt



EMPLOYER: Dollar Tree Inc.
LOCATION: Boston (OSHA Region 1)
BUSINESS TYPE: Discount retailer
EVENT: The location was found to have obstructed exit routes and electrical hazards related to blocked working space around electrical panels. Additionally, unstable stacks of merchandise and overstocked materials created the risk of struck-by hazards.
MAJOR CITATIONS: Dollar Tree was cited for three repeat and two willful violations involving exit, storage and fire hazards.
QUOTE: “OSHA continues to receive complaints about unsafe working conditions at Dollar Tree stores across the nation. Workers should not be subjected to the same hazards previously identified and cited.” – Sweatt



LOCATION: Port Neches, TX (OSHA Region 6)
BUSINESS TYPE: Chemical manufacturer
EVENT: After a plant fire and explosion in November 2019, OSHA investigators found TPC Group exposed workers to various hazards. The incident occurred after vapor that had formed at the base of a butadiene finishing tower ignited. The employer failed to create and implement emergency shutdown procedures and did not inspect and test process vessel and piping components.
MAJOR CITATIONS: TPC Group was cited for nine serious and three willful violations.
QUOTE: “Employers are required to conduct regular inspections and address potential hazardous conditions associated with chemical processes to prevent catastrophic events from occurring. OSHA has extensive resources available to help employers and workers understand requirements for process safety management.” – Sweatt



EMPLOYER: Alpha Technical Services (operating as Quala Rail and Specialty)
LOCATION: Pasadena, TX (OSHA Region 6)
BUSINESS TYPE: Tank, container and rail car service provider
EVENT: Two workers were fatally overcome by hazardous fumes after an incident involving tank trailer cleaning operations. OSHA investigators found that one worker became unresponsive after entering the trailer’s confined space. When a non-entry retrieval system used in a rescue attempt was ineffective, multiple workers entered the tank to try another rescue, and another became unresponsive.
MAJOR CITATIONS: ATS was cited for seven serious, two repeat and one willful violation. Violations were related to exposing workers to confined space hazards, including failure to test for safe atmospheric conditions upon entry.
QUOTE: “This tragedy could have been prevented if the employer had complied with the law and tested and monitored the oxygen level within the tank before permitting workers to enter.” – Mark Briggs, Houston South area director



EMPLOYER: Dollar Tree Inc.
LOCATION: Marinette, WI (OSHA Region 5)
BUSINESS TYPE: Discount retailer
EVENT: An inspection uncovered various exit, storage and fire hazards as Dollar Tree registered its third “Penalty Box” listing in the past two fiscal years. Agency inspectors found the employer exposed workers to fire hazards from blocked and unmarked exit routes. They also found obstructed and unmaintained fire extinguishers. Additionally, unstable stacks of stored merchandise and blocked electrical panels created struck-by and fire and electrical hazards, respectively.
MAJOR CITATIONS: Dollar Tree was cited with three willful, two repeat and one other-than-serious violations involving the presence and risk of fire hazards, electrical hazards and struck-by hazards.
QUOTE: “OSHA continues to receive complaints about unsafe working conditions at Dollar Tree stores across the nation. This employer is required to follow the law and comply with regulations that protect workers from injuries and fatalities.” – Sweatt



EMPLOYER: Frazer and Jones Company Inc.
LOCATION: Solvay, NY (OSHA Region 2)
BUSINESS TYPE: Iron foundry
EVENT: Inspectors determined that the employer exposed workers to struck-by and caught-between hazards, as well as crystalline silica, iron oxide, combustible dust, falls, and unsafe walking/working surfaces. Other safety hazards identified were inadequate respiratory protection, deficient safeguards for entering confined spaces, inaccessible and unavailable fire extinguishers, and an impeded exit route. Additionally, the company failed to provide an effective pest removal program.
MAJOR CITATIONS: Frazer and Jones was cited for 11 serious, one willful and one other-than-serious violations.
QUOTE: “These hazards expose workers to injuries and long-term health effects. Employers must recognize the safety and health risks inherent to their work operations and environment, and take necessary precautions to protect employees who perform those operations.” – Jeffrey Prebish, OSHA area director in Syracuse

Post a comment to this article

Safety+Health welcomes comments that promote respectful dialogue. Please stay on topic. Comments that contain personal attacks, profanity or abusive language – or those aggressively promoting products or services – will be removed. We reserve the right to determine which comments violate our comment policy. (Anonymous comments are welcome; merely skip the “name” field in the comment box. An email address is required but will not be included with your comment.)