On July 22, 2015, OSHA issued an underground construction company in Texas six willful and nine serious citations with fines totaling $423,900, stemming from a trench collapse in February of 2015. While the citations and fine amount are not unusual under the new regime, the press release issued by OSHA following the issuance of the citations goes to great lengths to embarrass and harass the company, even identifying the company’s workers compensation insurer by name—presumably, in an attempt to try and prevent the company from obtaining insurance in the future. See the press release here.
Going forward, employers should know that in addition to citations and fines, OSHA intends to add malicious press releases and editorials to its arsenal. Now more than ever, employers should take steps to ensure that they are prepared for when OSHA arrives at their facility or site in an effort to avoid being the subject of a similar press release.