A decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals demonstrates the personal liability CEOs and C-suite executives should have when it comes to workplace safety.
New Jersey-based Altor Inc. and Vasilio Saites, the company's president, were found to be in contempt of court for neglecting to pay $412,000 in penalities tied to numerous willful safety violations.
“The U.S. Department of Labor will use all appropriate and available legal tools to ensure that employers are held accountable for their obligations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act to help ensure that workplaces are safe and employers who violate the law do not gain an unfair economic advantage over law-abiding competitors,” said Kate S. O’Scannlain, solicitor of labor.
OSHA cited the construcion company for multiple violations of the agency's fall protection standards. The court previously ordered Altor and Saites to pay the fine after the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) affirmed the violations.
The court’s contempt judgment specifies that Saites is liable for the full amount of the penalty if Altor does not pay. If Altor and Saites do not fully pay within 30 days or show the court why they cannot do so, the secretary of labor will propose a daily penalty for the court to assess.
The court’s ruling is the result of lengthy litigation by the Department’s Office of the Solicitor including multiple hearings before the OSHRC and the court of appeals to affirm Altor’s violations of OSHA’s safety requirements and remedy the company’s longstanding refusal to pay the associated penalties.