OSHA Cites Guam Based BME For Lying About Safety Gear Provided to Workers; 16th Violation Against Company since 2005

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Guam – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Guam Based general contractor BME & Sons for failing to provide its workers with the personal protective equipment necessary to do their jobs safely, and lying about it to OSHA investigators.

OSHA cited BME & Sons for one willful violation with a proposed penalty of $44,000 and one serious violation assessed at $1,600. The total proposed penalty against the Barrigada firm is  $45,600.

BME & Sons got whacked with a willful violation because, according to a release from OSHA, BME’s own safety director repeatedly told OSHA that BME employees didn’t have to pay for their personal protective safety equipment.

In fact,  OSHA investigators determined that BME employees were required to pay for the equipment when they came on the job or had the cost of the equipment deducted from their paychecks.

The citations and penalties stem from an OSHA inspection conducted on Feb. 24 at a worksite in Santa Rita, Guam, as part of a local emphasis program focusing on construction sites.

OSHA has cited BME & Sons 16 times since 2005, including one willful and six serious violations at one of its sites on Feb. 2.

A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements or with plain indifference to employees’ safety and health.

The release quotes OSHA’s regional administrator in San Francisco, Ken Nishiyama Atha, as saying “We cannot emphasize enough that employers have an obligation to provide protective safety equipment to their workers.  This employer skirted that responsibility by forcing employees to pay for the equipment needed to keep themselves safe.”

OSHA cited BME & Sons for a serious violation because the employer failed to ensure that employees used proper face shields to protect their faces and eyes from water and debris while using a pressure washer. A serious violation is issued when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

BME & Sons has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

READ the OSHA News Release below:

U.S. Department of Labor                                            For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs                                                  Aug. 20, 2010
San Francisco, Calif.                                                     Contact:  Jose A. Carnevali
Release Number: 10-1151-SAN (SF-255)                   Phone:    415-625-2631
E-mail:   carnevali.jose@dol.gov

US Labor Department’s OSHA cites Guam general contractor BME & Sons for failing to provide workers personal protective equipment

SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited general contractor BME & Sons Inc. of Barrigada, Guam, for failing to provide its workers with the personal protective equipment necessary to do their jobs safely.  Proposed penalties total $45,600.

“We cannot emphasize enough that employers have an obligation to provide protective safety equipment to their workers,” said Ken Nishiyama Atha, OSHA’s regional administrator in San Francisco. “This employer skirted that responsibility by forcing employees to pay for the equipment needed to keep themselves safe.”

The citations and penalties stem from an OSHA inspection conducted on Feb. 24 at a worksite in Santa Rita, Guam, as part of a local emphasis program focusing on construction sites. OSHA cited BME & Sons for one willful violation with a proposed penalty of $44,000 and one serious violation assessed at $1,600.

The willful violation was issued after the company’s safety director repeatedly told OSHA that employees were not required to pay for the personal protective safety equipment. In fact, OSHA investigators determined that employees were required to pay for the equipment when they came on the job or had the cost of the equipment deducted from their paychecks. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements or with plain indifference to employees’ safety and health. OSHA has cited BME & Sons 16 times since 2005, including one willful and six serious violations at one of its sites on Feb. 2.

OSHA cited BME & Sons for a serious violation because the employer failed to ensure that employees used proper face shields to protect their faces and eyes from water and debris while using a pressure washer. A serious violation is issued when there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard.

BME & Sons has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.  To report workplace accidents, fatalities or situations posing imminent danger to workers, call OSHA’s toll-free hotline at 800-321-6742.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA’s role is to promote safe and healthful working conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, outreach and education.  For more information, visit http://www.osha.gov.