The Highest OSHA Fines Issued in Every State Since 2015

Written by Carly Hallman

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The Highest OSHA Fines Issued in Every State Since 2015 Transcript

“OSHA” stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The initial penalty represents the amount initially assessed when the citation was first issued to the employer. This may differ from the current/actual penalty if settlement or judicial actions affected the number.

Number of violations found indicates how many violations inspectors found during an investigation. Violations include “willful” (the employer knowingly failed to comply or acted indifferently to employee safety), “serious” (the hazard could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm), and “repeated” (the employer has been cited previously for the same condition).

Note that the date is when the OSHA fine was issued, not when the incident occurred.

State and City Fine Amount Company # of Violations Found Reason Date
Anchorage, Alaska $560,000 Hartman Construction and Equipment Inc. 8 Employee crushed to death after a cave-in while working in a trench without a trench box 2/8/2015
Andalusia, Alabama $312,576 Dollar Tree Stores Inc. 3 Hazardous, unsanitary conditions; emergency exits blocked 6/5/2019
Hot Springs, Arkansas $185,055 Texamerican Food Blending Inc. 6 Employee killed inside of a double-ribbon mixer after it was accidentally activated with him inside 12/27/2016
Hayden, Arizona $159,342 Ace Pipe Cleaning Inc. 9 Employee’s hand was stuck in rotary valve for 45 minutes before machine was de-energized 8/9/2016
Gardena, California $417,325 Open case Stone Etc. Inc 9 Exposure to silica crystalline quartz dust 8/5/2019
Colorado Springs, Colorado $114,230 West Side Fabrication LLC 9 Hazardous wiring methods, components, and general equipment 1/9/2018
Bloomfield, Connecticut $208,384 Dollar Tree Stores Inc. 2 Cited for maintenance, safeguards, and operational features for exit routes 11/25/2019
Washington, D.C. $117,335 Goel Services Inc. 3 Lead, poor sanitation, occupational noise exposure 3/16/2017
Wilmington, Delaware $291,716 Industrial Services Group, Inc. 4 Employee fell from scaffolding inside of an above-ground storage tank 1/10/2019
Saint Augustine, Florida $1,523,710 Great White Construction Inc. 14 Investigated 12 times since 2012 due to improper fall protection, ladder safety, and eye protection 8/1/2017
Macon, Georgia $507,299 Kumho Tire Georgia Inc. 17 Fall, struck-by, and burn hazards; hazardous energy-control procedures; poor safety training; lack of machine guards 5/23/2019
Honolulu, Hawaii $200,200 Albert C Kobayashi Inc. 4 Unknown 11/20/2015
Waterloo, Iowa $306,500 East Central Iowa Cooperative 11 Employee entered bin and was smothered by soybeans 8/7/2017
Caldwell, Idaho $288,700 Dollar Tree Stores Inc. 3 Cited for maintenance, safeguards, and operational features for exit routes 9/13/2019
Okawville, Illinois $1,792,000 Kehrer Brothers Construction Inc. 31 Knowingly exposed at least eight temporary foreign workers to asbestos 8/10/2015
Plymouth, Indiana $182,000 Five Star Commercial Roofing Inc. 7 Employee tripped into a skylight, falling 19 feet 2/14/2019
Wichita, Kansas $464,691 Gavilon Grain LLC 6 Two employees engulfed and suffocated inside of grain bin 6/28/2018
Walnut Grove, Kentucky $150,000 Texas Roadhouse Management Corp. 1 Sanitary violation 9/28/2016
New Orleans, Louisiana $226,310 Dedicated TCS, LLC 9 Employee lost consciousness and suffocated due to oxygen-deficient atmosphere in a rail car previously transporting latex; second employee entered rail car, lost consciousness, but was rescued; third fell from ladder, lost consciousness, but was able to self-rescue 4/5/2016
Boston, Massachusetts $1,475,813 Atlantic Drain Service Company Inc. 18 Two employees drowned during a trench cave-in while installing a sewer line. The collapsing soil caused a fire hydrant supply line to snap, filling the trench with water. 4/11/2017
Parkville, Maryland $108,555 U.S. Postal Service 6 Employees exposed to blood-borne pathogens 10/27/2017
Portland, Maine $1,792,726 Shawn D. Purvis 11 Employee fell 20 feet from roof without any fall protection 6/11/2019
Grand Rapids, Michigan $558,000 Grand Rapids Plastics Inc. 9 Employee crushed in molding machine that was not properly locked out 3/20/2015
Lamberton, Minnesota $375,000 Meadowland Farmers Coop 6 Employee suffocated after sliding into a grain chute 11/15/2018
Kansas City, Missouri $511,000 DNRB Inc. Employee fell from top of metal decking without any fall protection 1/21/2015
Ocean Springs, Mississippi $161,771 Graham Construction 10 Exposing employees to trenching hazards; inspector observed water lines being installed in unprotected excavation 10/3/2019
Laurel, Montana $225,425 Nelcon Inc. 19 Three workers suffered burns while pouring oil into tank; one of these workers fell 15 feet during the incident 4/17/2019
Gastonia, North Carolina $232,100 Industrial Fabricators Inc. 42 Employee struck and killed by a tool that was kicked out by heavy machinery 11/10/2015
Ross, North Dakota $147,000 Northern Excavating Company Inc. 3 Violated trench protection protocols for the eighth time 1/7/2015
Omaha, Nebraska $963,000 Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services LLC 33 Two employees were cleaning petroleum sludge from inside a tanker rail car when flammable vapors inside ignited, causing an explosion. 10/13/2015
Nashua, New Hampshire $299,324 Luis Guallpa 5 Six workers exposed to falls and other hazards without proper protection 3/20/2018
Paterson, New Jersey $422,375 Douglas Stephen Plastics Inc. 14 Unsafe workplace; exposing employees to amputation hazards; blocked emergency exits; excessive noise levels 3/20/2018
Sante Fe, New Mexico $183,375 City of Santa Fe 7 Employee was electrocuted when they cut into a live circuit while changing light fixtures 9/26/2019
Henderson, Nevada $189,000 Prestige Dental Incorporated 6 Employees exposed to blood-borne pathogens 8/11/2017
Hauppauge, New York $287,212 U.S. Nonwovens Corp. 17 Employee suffered a fractured hand; lack of machine guards; failure to train forklift operators in lockout/tag-out procedures; failure to report injuries; smoke inhalation hazards 7/16/2019
Hebron, Ohio $3,420,000 Sunfield Inc. 46 Failure to disconnect machinery; failure to prevent sudden movement; failure to train employees. One worker suffered severe lacerations (even after the machine malfunction was noted by a supervisor), and another needed an arm amputation. 6/29/2016
Kingston, Oklahoma $396,626 BigTex Trailers 23 Workers who performed spray-painting and powder-coating did not receive required medical evaluations and respirator fit tests; failure to proof test chain slings; lack of machine guards 1/11/2017
Coos Bay, Oregon $252,940 Bay Area Athletic Club Inc. 4 Failure to provide proper emergency eyewash and shower facilities after two years 10/15/2015
Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania $507,000 (now $1.04 million from lost wages) Lloyd Industries Inc. 14 Illegally fired employees in 2014 after they participated in an inspection following an incident in which an employee suffered an amputation of three fingers 5/11/2015
Pawtucket, Rhode Island $102,306 Lincoln Master Construction Inc. 4 Head protection and fall protection violations 3/6/2017
North Charleston, South Carolina $101,600 Detyens Shipyards Inc. 14 Rope guardrails not secure to prevent falling overboard; use of forklifts with broken safety equipment; blocked exit doors; lack of welding screens for arc welders 5/29/2015
Sioux Falls, South Dakota $200,628 Hultgren Construction LLC 23 Employee suffocated when the building he was working on collapsed 4/21/2017
Clarksville, Tennessee $106,500 Hankook Tire Manufacturing Tennessee LP 10 Underhung cranes not inspected and certified; lack of proper safety gear; lack of eye protection; lack of lockout/tag-out procedures 12/6/2018
Marshall, Texas $715,416 Marshall Pottery Inc. 22 Employee was trapped in a tunnel kiln after an automated process took control, closing the door; extreme exposure to thermal energy 10/11/2017
Salt Lake City, Utah $292,500 Thatcher Company Inc. 13 Large sulfur dioxide leak affected at least 56 people, prompting investigation that discovered 13 safety violations 12/10/2019
Falls Church, Virginia $272,169 Donnie Jenkins Jr. Tree & Landscaping Service 13 Employee was killed while trimming a tree limb that made contact with an overhead power line 11/18/2019
Brattleboro, Vermont $93,126 Cersosimo Lumber Company Inc. 4 Violated exit route safety, in particular regarding a trim saw 6/12/2019
Vancouver, Washington $503,200 Dollar Tree Stores Inc. 12 Unsafe conditions; blocked emergency exit routes; unsafe ladder use; improper stacking of merchandise 4/23/2019
Arcadia, Wisconsin $1,766,000 Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. 33 In a three-and-a-half-year period, there were more than 1,000 work-related injuries. One worker lost three fingers. 1/29/2015
Big Chimney, West Virginia $121,800 Winesburg Builders Ltd. 4 Exposing employees to falls as high as 22 feet without protection; repeated offenses 3/28/2016
Cheyenne, Wyoming $111,796 Simon Contractors 5 Lack of cave-in protection; inadequate form of egress from trench excavation; exposure to falling loads 10/2/2017

The Top 50 Highest OSHA Fines in the United States Since 2015

State and City Fine Amount Company # of Violations Found Reason (and Fatality) Date
Hebron, Ohio $3,420,000 Sunfield Inc. 46 Failure to disconnect machinery; failure to prevent sudden movement; failure to train employees. One worker suffered severe lacerations (even after a machine malfunction was noted by a supervisor), and another needed an arm amputation. 6/29/2016
Okawville, Illinois $1,792,000 Kehrer Brothers Construction Inc. 31 Knowingly exposed at least eight temporary foreign workers to asbestos 8/10/2015
Arcadia, Wisconsin $1,766,000.00 Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. 33 In a three-and-a-half-year period, there were more than 1,000 work-related injuries. One worker lost three fingers. 1/29/2015
Waukegan, Illinois $1,591,176.00 AB Specialty Silicones LLC 12 Four employees died in an explosion and fire. Electrical equipment did not comply with OSHA standards. Forklifts powered by liquid propane were used to transport volatile flammable liquids. 10/24/2019
Boston, Massachusetts $1,475,813 Atlantic Drain Service Company Inc. 18 Two employees drowned during a trench cave-in while installing a sewer line. The collapsing soil caused a fire hydrant supply line to snap, filling the trench with water. 4/11/2017

National Council for Occupational Safety and Health’s 2019 Dirty Dozen

Listed in alphabetical order

Company Why
Amazon Six worker deaths in seven months; 13 deaths since 2013; high incidence of suicide attempts; workers afraid to take breaks
Atlantic Capes Fisheries and BJ’s Service Co. $675,000 settlement for sexual harassment case after workers who complained were fired
Bedrock Detroit Cited for $3,500 in safety violations. They launched an aggressive campaign telling inspectors “how to do their jobs and who they were allowed to inspect.”
Beiza Brothers Harvesting Immigrant farm worker Miguel Angel Guzman Chavez died from heat exhaustion on a tomato farm. Workers were subjected to high ambient temperatures and direct sunlight.
Facebook and Accenture, Cognizant, Prounlimited, and Tech Solutions Low-paid, outsourced moderators constantly remove objectionable content from Facebook including hate speech, porn, and images of suicide, murders, and beheadings: Workers suffer from acute stress and PTSD.
Genan Bryon Jones was pulled into a tire shredder and killed on his fourth day on the job.
Integra Health Management Inc. A 25-year-old service worker was stabbed to death while visiting a client. He had reported safety concerns after a previous home visit.
John Hopkins Hospital Four out of five nurses report they have been victims of workplace violence. One out of four state that Hopkins ignores these dangerous incidents.
McDonald’s USA Over two dozen workers filed sexual harassment complaints; workers strike in protect of the company’s failure to act.
Purdue Pharma and the Opioid Industry To sell addictive painkillers, Purdue targeted patients with workplace injuries — as well as their doctors.
Tooma Enterprises Jason Holmes died in a trench collapse due to a lack of shoring or a trench box.
XPO One worker died and six women suffered miscarriages in an overheated, high-stress warehouse. After an exposé and a union organizing drive, the warehouse was closed.

Sources:

The Occupational Safety and Heath Administration is a division of the U.S. Department of Labor. It was established under the Occupational Safety and Health Act on Dec. 29, 1970. The purpose of the organization is to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for employees through setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, education, outreach, and assistance.

One of the ways that OSHA strives to ensure the safety and health of workers is through inspections and penalties. With jurisdiction over approximately 7 million worksites, OSHA prioritizes inspections in this order:

  1. Imminent danger situations. Hazards that could cause death or severe harm come first. Compliance officers will demand that employers correct these hazards immediately and remove employees at risk.
  2. Severe injuries or illnesses. Employers are required to report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours. All work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, or eye losses must be reported within 24 hours.
  3. Worker complaints. Allegations of violations or hazards made by employees will prompt inspections. It is an employee’s right to be anonymous when they file complaints.
  4. Targeted inspections. Inspections of specific high-hazard industries or individual workplaces with high rates of injuries receive priority.
  5. Follow-up inspections. Inspectors check if prior violations and hazards have been addressed.

This list of priorities helps put into perspective the kinds of violations that inspectors seek out and aim to correct. OSHA also categorizes the severity of violations. You can learn more about the minimum and maximum fines for each type of violation here.

  • A Serious Violation is one in which there is “substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.”
  • An Other-Than-Serious Violation is a “violation of OSHA rules that would not usually cause death or serious injury but that is nevertheless related to job safety or employee health.”
  • A Willful Violation “is defined as a violation in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.”
  • A Repeated Violation is one that the employer has failed to correct since a previous violation. These violations often carry the most hefty fines.

This infographic presents the highest OSHA fines issued in every state since 2015. We gathered this data from OSHA’s database, “Enforcement Cases With Initial Penalties of $40,000 or Above.” Let us take a look at the top five biggest OSHA enforcement cases included on the list.

  1. Sunfield Inc. (Hebron, Ohio), $3,420,000: In July 2016, Sunfield earned one of the largest OSHA penalties of all time (and a place in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program) for willfully exposing temporary workers to machine hazards. Most of the violations involved a lack of machine safety procedures. In January 2016, a 22-year-old temporary worker suffered a fractured elbow and multiple lacerations while removing scrap from a blanking press. The supervisor had already identified the safety issue two hours prior to the injury but failed to place the equipment out of service. Just a month later, a 58-year-old employee had to undergo surgical amputation of his right arm because it was crushed while removing scrap from a robotic press line. The machine was lacking adequate guards. Sunfield has a history of disregarding employee safety and repeat violations.
  2. Shawn D. Purvis (Portland, Maine), $1,792,726: A roofer named Alan Loignon suffered a fatal 20-foot fall without wearing any fall protection. Inspectors found that Purvis knowingly failed to ensure the use of fall protection, even encouraging employees to not use it in order to finish jobs faster. Purvis has a record of fall protection violations dating back to 2006. He has been charged with manslaughter.
  3. Kehrer Brother Construction Inc. (Okawville, Illinois), $1,792,000: Asbestos removal requires personal protection equipment, a decontamination area, and special removal methods to ensure that fibers do not become airborne. Kehrer Brothers Construction failed to ensure these protective measures for eight employees despite being well aware of the asbestos hazards present at an elementary school renovation project. “Kehrer Brothers Construction brought non-English-speaking workers to the U.S. and knowingly exposed them to asbestos,” said Dr. David Michaels, a former OSHA administrator. “Kehrer also threatened to fire his employees if they spoke with our investigators. This is outrageous, illegal behavior.” Joseph Kehrer has been sentenced to five months in federal prison.
  4. Ashley Furniture Industries Inc. (Arcadia, Wisconsin), $1,766,000: In 2015, OSHA discovered more than 1,000 worker injuries at the Wisconsin warehouse over 36 months. One worker lost three fingers in July 2014 while operating a woodworking machine without required safety mechanisms in place. Michaels stated that Ashley Furniture “intentionally and willfully disregarded OSHA standards and its own corporate safety manuals to encourage workers to increase productivity and meet deadlines.”
  5. AB Specialty Silicones LLC (Waukegan, Illinois), $1,591,176: Four employees suffered fatal injuries in an explosion and fire that occurred on May 3, 2019. OSHA investigators discovered that forklifts powered by liquid propane were used to transport volatile flammable liquids through areas where employees handled and processed volatile flammable liquids and gases. This created a perfect storm for the deadly ignition.

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