BOSS WATCH: 3/15 - 3/22
Updated On: Apr 09, 2024

By JACOB MORRISON March 25, 2024

Illegal activities of Southern Bosses for the weeks between Friday, March 15 and Friday, March 22


A 38-year-old worker at a Cullman manufacturing plant suffered fatal injuries after getting caught inside a molding machine, a fatality the employer could have prevented by following established safety rules, a U.S. Department of Labor workplace safety investigation found.

The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that on Aug. 31, 2023, the Cullman Casting Corp. second shift production supervisor attempted to adjust a plastic film on a mold machine – meant to produce forklift counterweights – when the machine cycled, pinning the worker between the moving components inside.

OSHA investigators determined that the employer repeatedly exposed workers to safety hazards by failing to de-energize and lockout the automated molding machine while workers were performing maintenance and cleaning. Investigators found the company exposed workers to caught-in hazards by failing to do the following:  

  • Develop and utilize written lockout/tagout procedures. 

  • Conduct periodic inspections of lockout/tagout procedures.

  • Ensure that employees are trained on lockout/tagout procedures.

  • Ensure that employees are placing locks when conducting lockout/tagout procedures.

  • Ensure machine guarding was in place for employees working in the pit.

OSHA cited the employer with six serious violations and proposed $95,981 in penalties, an amount set by federal statute.  

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


The U.S. Department of Labor has filed a federal court complaint against a Lawrenceville pesticide and agricultural chemical manufacturer after the company allegedly terminated a worker’s employment in retaliation for filing a safety and health complaint with the department. 

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the complaint proposes Avenger Products LLC and its parent company Kittrich Corp. pay the former customer service manager back pay, compensatory and punitive damages to address lost wages, other financial losses and emotional distress related to their termination and forbids the company from future retaliation permanently. 

OSHA alleges that Avenger Products violated the Occupational Safety and Health Act by ending the worker’s employment because they exercised their rights protected under the act. A whistleblower investigation by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that the employer terminated the employee after they made complaints about safety hazards associated with chemical exposures in the workplace. 
Avenger Products LLC’s history with OSHA includes a total of 40 citations and $254,189 in proposed penalties from June 2018 to December 2019.


A Houston-area contractor’s willful disregard for required safety procedures contributed to an 18-year-old worker fatality when a 15-foot trench wall collapsed on him near Fulshear in September 2023, a federal investigation has found. 

Investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that Hurtado Construction Co. allowed the teenager to work in the excavation without a proper protective system in place to prevent its collapse. The young worker suffered fatal injuries when the trench wall caved in, and tons of dirt pinned him against a reinforced concrete box.

In November 2021, OSHA cited the company for failing to use an adequate protective system to safeguard employees from a potentially deadly collapse at another excavation worksite in Katy, continuing a history of workplace safety failures that includes eight OSHA citations for not providing required protective systems after another worker fatality in January 2007. 

OSHA issued the company one willful citation for allowing employees to work in a trench without adequate protections. The agency also issued five serious citations for Hurtado’s failures to do the following:

  • Having someone available to render first aid at the Fulshear site.

  • Providing a ladder for a quick escape.

  • Making employees work in an excavation saturated with water.

  • Improperly using a reinforced concrete box as a protective system during excavation work. 

Hurtado Construction Co. faces $257,811 in proposed penalties for its violations. Headquartered in Richmond, Hurtado Construction provides water, sewer and stormwater line installations and repair. 

Workplace deaths related to excavation and trenching operations have risen significantly, from 15 worker fatalities in 2021 to 40 worker fatalities in 2022. 

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


  • In 2022, OSHA cited Dean Sausage in Attalla, AL $37,000 for 14 violations around amputation hazards. In a follow up inspection this year, similar hazards were found, including hazards related to lockout/tagout, machine guardian, and blocked exits. OSHA is proposing an additional $116,153 in penalties. 

  • U.S. Department of Labor investigations at four northern Virginia Jersey Mike’s franchise locations have found the operator allowed more than a dozen employees under the age of 16 to perform dangerous tasks and work longer than permitted in violation of federal child labor regulations. JM Burke, the operator of the franchises, paid $108,161 in civil money penalties to resolve its child labor infractions.

  • C&M Roustabout Services LLC in Oklahoma City, OK has been cited $103,000 by OSHA for failure to follow federal safety procedures that left a 30-year-old worker suffering fatal asphyxiation as they tried to make repairs inside a water tank at a McClain County wellsite in September 2023.

  • Dillard’s in Atlanta, GA will pay $70,000 and furnish other relief to settle a U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) retaliation lawsuit, after refusing reasonable accommodations for a pregnant worker. 

  • Nursing home operators Hobe Sound OPCO and related companies Hobe Sound Realty, TOH Holdings, and HSRE, have agreed to pay $67,500 to settle a national origin discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after they allegedly revoked a job offer for a Haitian immigrant while making discriminatory remarks about “Haitian voodoo.”

  • Pharmacy and retailer Walgreens Co. has agreed to pay $205,000 and provide other relief to settle a pregnancy discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) after refusing to allow a pregnant worker to take emergency medical leave

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