Asphalt Paving Firm Penalized Following 'Willful' Tractor Incident

OSHA has cited Asphalt Paving Specialists Inc. for alleged safety violations resulting in an employee being injured at its Davie, Fla., worksite in March. Penalties total $62,200. The incident occurred when an employee operating a tractor struck another worker who was digging a shallow ditch. According to OSHA, the injured worker was hospitalized and has since returned to work.

The company, based in Hollywood, Fla., is receiving one willful citation with a proposed penalty of $49,000 for failing to provide a reverse signal alarm on the equipment that struck and pinned the employee while backing up. The tractor has not had an operational reverse signal for approximately two years. OSHA defines a willful violation as one committed with plain indifference to or intentional disregard for employee safety and health.

The company also has been cited with 10 serious violations and proposed penalties of $13,200 for failing to train workers in the recognition and avoidance of hazards. Other violations include a lack of eye protection while working near chemicals; exposing workers to accumulation of materials that could result in tripping, fire or an explosion; failing to provide a fire extinguisher within 50 feet of flammable and combustible material; operating trucks with inoperative safety devices; and failing to develop or maintain a hazard communications program. A serious citation is issued 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.

"It's time employers realize that OSHA will not tolerate a company's work ethic where profit is placed ahead of worker safety. OSHA will aggressively identify these employers, cite them for unsafe working environments, and hold them responsible for their workers' safety," said Darlene Fossum, OSHA's area director in Fort Lauderdale.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. The site was inspected by staff from OSHA's area office in Fort Lauderdale.

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