Waymar Constuction Fined after Minor Is Injured on an Ohio Construction Site

Dec. 5, 2011
OSHA has cited Waymar Construction Co. in Shelby, Ohio, for child labor and safety violations after 16-year-old worker was injured on job site in May. The youth suffered head trauma and fractures after falling off a scissor lift during roofing operations at a Sandusky, Ohio job site.

The Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division has assessed civil money penalties of $30,350 for allowing a minor to operate a hoisting device and perform roofing work in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act's child labor provisions.

"It is unacceptable to put minors at risk by employing them to perform hazardous tasks," said George Victory, district director of the Wage and Hour Division in Columbus. "Ensuring the health and safety of young workers is a priority for the Labor Department. Employers that fail to follow this law can face severe penalties."

The division found that Waymar Construction violated the FLSA's child labor standards by employing a worker less than 18 years old to perform hazardous jobs prohibited by the act. The FLSA establishes a minimum age of 18 for certain nonagricultural occupations that the secretary of labor finds and declares to be particularly hazardous for, or detrimental to the health and well-being of, 16- and 17-year-old workers.

Waymar Construction also was found to be in violation of the overtime provisions of the FLSA, for paying workers "straight time" wages for hours worked over 40 in a week. The FLSA requires that covered employees be paid at least the federal minimum wage for all hours worked, plus time and one-half their regular hourly rates of pay, including commissions, bonuses and incentive pay, for hours worked beyond 40 per week.

More information on child labor rules and hazardous occupations can be found at http://www.youthrules.dol.gov. Information about the FLSA's requirements is available by calling the Wage and Hour Division's toll-free hotline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243) or visiting its web site at http://www.dol.gov/whd.

OSHA Cites Safety Violations

Additionally, OSHA cited the company for one willful safety violation for failing to ensure workers were protected from fall hazards and one serious safety violation for failing to provide fall protection training. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Proposed penalties for these violations total $20,020.

"Failing to provide fall protection for any employee is unacceptable and a clear violation of OSHA safety standards," said Kim Nelson, OSHA's area director in Toledo. "OSHA is committed to protecting the welfare of our nation's workers, especially when employers fail to do so."

Waymar Construction has 15 business days from receipt of the OSHA citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with Nelson or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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