OSHA Fines North Texas Company $210K for Safety Violations

February 12, 2008

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reported it has proposed penalties of $210,000 against Kaufman, Texas-based Metroplex Masonry Inc. for allegedly failing to protect employees from safety hazards.

OSHA announced on Feb. 4, 2008, that Metroplex Masonry was cited for four serious and seven repeat safety violations following an inspection that began Aug. 8, 2007, at the company’s worksite in North Richland Hills. The company, which provides masonry services, has about 100 employees, 40 of whom were working at this site.

According to the federal safety agency, serious violations include failure to provide scaffold working platforms of sufficient width, to remove and replace damaged scaffold components, and to provide fall protection at the ends of scaffold platforms. A serious violation exists 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.

Repeat violations are for failure to provide fall protection on balconies, to fully plant scaffold working platforms, to provide safe access to scaffold platforms and to provide adequate protection from falling objects. Repeat violations are issued when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a substantially similar violation that has become a final order.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director in Fort Worth, Texas, or contest the citations and penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA also reported that Metroplex Masonry has paid $70,000 in overtime back wages to 189 current and former stone and brick masonry workers throughout Texas after an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division found the company in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

“The employer was paying hourly workers straight time for all hours worked, including those beyond 40 in a workweek that entitled them to overtime pay,” said Cynthia Watson, the Wage and Hour Division’s regional administrator for the Southwest. “The employer also failed to keep accurate payroll records.”

Overtime back wages have been paid in full and the company has agreed to future FLSA compliance.

The FLSA requires that covered employees, unless otherwise exempt, be paid at least the federal minimum wage of $5.85 per hour for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular rates of pay for hours worked beyond 40 per week. This law also requires that employers keep accurate time and payroll records.

Source: OSHA, www.osha.gov

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