Construction Employers and OSHA Violations: Willful Violations, Civil and Criminal Penalties

Recent Federal Cases Against Contractors, Best Practices and Operating Procedures

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A


Conducted on Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Course Materials

This CLE course will provide construction counsel with advice based on recent decisions by the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission that found contractors were liable for hazardous working conditions and subject to civil and criminal penalties for these worker safety violations. The panel will address best practices and advise on steps construction clients should take to mitigate future risk and establish procedures and oversight.

Description

The consequences to the construction industry stemming from worker safety violations are not limited to civil monetary penalties and specific hazard abatement requirements levied by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Violations can lead to criminal liability under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act).

Construction counsel must advise clients on what constitutes a criminal penalty when any employer willfully violates an OSHA standard and an employee dies as a result. OSHA's issuance of a "willful" citation following an employee fatality is not sufficient to establish criminal liability because willfulness must be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt" in the criminal proceedings, along with other necessary elements. If proven, the employer may be fined and/or face imprisonment.

Counsel should guide clients in reviewing and revising operations and safety manuals to ensure they are up-to-date with current protocols and advise clients to address known or obvious workplace hazards and employee safety complaints and concerns. Counsel must train company management on handling OSHA inspections and investigations before an OSHA investigation and involving counsel if OSHA arrives for an inspection or investigation.

Listen as our expert construction panel discusses the state of current OSHA inspections and investigations and how the contractual relationships between the various project members, including prime contractors, subcontractors, construction managers, and professional consultants, can allocate or even shift primary responsibility from one party to another.

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Outline

  1. Standards established by OSHA
  2. OSH Act
    1. Willful violations and criminal penalties
  3. COVID-19 safety and health procedures
  4. Consequences of increased onsite inspections
  5. Allocation of risk in contracts

Benefits

The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How can construction counsel limit liability for clients facing OSHA investigations and/or OSH Act violations?
  • How can employers ensure worksites are complying with all of OSHA's COVID-19 safety and health procedures?
  • As OSHA increases onsite inspections, what should construction industry employers expect?
  • How can counsel shift liability for safety violations via construction contracts?

Faculty

Bland, Kevin
Kevin D. Bland

Shareholder
Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart

Mr. Bland provides a wealth of experience in Health and Safety.  Before he began his legal career, Mr. Bland had...  |  Read More

White, Taylor
Taylor E. White

Shareholder
Winstead

Mr. White regularly advises employers on requirements and best practices regarding discrimination, harassment, and...  |  Read More

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Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

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