Question: What happens when YOU lie to OSHA?
According to a press release issued by OSHA, in March, 2013, Marcus Borden was supervising a crew of 5 workers on a roofing project in Cordova, Alabama, about 20 miles northwest of Birmingham. A severe thunderstorm came through, resulting in serious injuries to 3 of the 5 workers, including a left arm amputation on one worker, a shoulder injury to another, and the third suffered fractured wrists, ribs, tail bone and pelvis after falling 30 feet to the ground. None of the workers were provided with fall protection equipment and none were tied-off to the roof or had a means to exit the roof quickly. During the OSHA investigation, Borden told the inspector “that he had been present on the job site on the day of the accident and that he had obtained personal fall arrest equipment to protect workers from falls on March 13, 2013, when actually he retained the equipment on March 18, 2013, after the incident occurred. Borden also claimed that employees had been tied off when he knew, in fact, they were not.” Borden was cited for 6 safety violations: 1. A willful citation for failing to provide workers with fall protection while working within 6 feet of an open edge that was 30 feet above the ground; 2. Four serious violations for exposing workers to severe weather conditions and not securing metal decking during inclement weather conditions; and 3. Failing to notify OSHA about the workers being admitted to the hospital due to a work-related incident. Borden ultimately settled the citations by paying a penalty of $55,000.
In April, 2015, the Department of Justice charged Borden with making false statements and lying to OSHA inspectors. Borden pled guilty to one count of making false statements on May 13, 2015, and was sentenced on August 6 to 3 years of supervised probation and 30 hours of community service.
Practice pointers. Don’t lie to ANY federal agency or any of their investigators, agents or representatives. Doing so can result in you, individually, being criminally prosecuted for making false statements. The various agencies include, but are not limited to, the EEOC, DOL, OSHA, IRS and the FBI. The same advice applies to state agencies as well. If you or your employer are not experienced in dealing with the various regulatory agencies, contacting your legal representative is a good first step to take if contacted. Even if you or your employer are experienced with dealing with the various regulatory agencies, contacting your legal representative may still be necessary. If you or your employer are contacted by a law enforcement agency, which happens on a regular basis concerning various issues, such as identity theft, fraud issues, tax issues and internet pornography issues, it is highly recommended that you contact your legal representative immediately. This is especially true if a search warrant is being served on your business. Remember, you have the right to remain silent and anything you say can and will be used against you.