BOSS WATCH: 6/14 - 6/21
Updated On: Jul 16, 2024


By JACOB MORRISON | June 24, 2024


Illegal activities of Southern Bosses for the weeks between Friday, June 14 and Friday, June 27


—ALABAMA KILLER—

A Boaz mobile home manufacturer could have prevented a 62-year-old roofing laborer’s fatal fall had the employer followed required fall protection standards, a U.S. Department of Labor investigation found.

The department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined that the Kabco Builders Inc. employee was alone loading shingles as they straddled a two-foot-wide space between a platform and a mobile home’s roof when they slipped and fell approximately 10 feet. 

OSHA cited Kabco Builders with 10 serious violations for hazards, including not providing fall protection, failure to train workers performing roof work at heights of 4 feet or more, not providing training to workers who operate forklifts, and not requiring workers applying adhesives to wear personal protective equipment nor training them on the hazards related to the chemicals in use. The agency proposed $81,463 in penalties.

“As falls from heights continue to be the leading cause of fatalities and serious injuries in all industries, employers like Kabco Builders must know and understand the importance of fall protection standards and related training,” said OSHA Area Office Director Joel Batiz in Birmingham, Alabama. “Following these well-established safety requirements can mean the difference between an employer seeing its worker ending a shift safely or having to watch as a worker’s family, friends and co-workers grieve a needless tragedy.”

—GEORGIA KILLER—

A U.S. Department of Labor workplace safety investigation has found a Woodbury plastic and resin manufacturer could have prevented a 37-year-old employee from suffering fatal injuries by following required safety rules designed to keep machines from starting up during maintenance. 

Investigators with the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration learned the maintenance technician at Crown USA Inc. was crushed inside an unlocked hooding palletizer while servicing the machine. 

OSHA determined the company violated federal regulations by:

  • Failing to use adequate machine guarding to protect employees from struck-by and crushed-by hazards.

  • Failing to train employees on energy control procedures and maintain training records.

  • Failing to conduct inspections of energy control procedures.

  • Exposing workers to serious respiratory hazards by not protecting them from accumulations of airborne particles of powdered pigment and other types of dust throughout the facility. 

  • Not providing personal protective equipment that prevents eye and skin irritation.

  • Failing to label containers properly according to hazardous communication standards. 

Crown USA received eight serious and six other-than-serious violations. The company faces $98,699 in proposed OSHA penalties.

—TEXAS RETALIATOR—

The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered American Home Protect LLC in Plano and its parent company, Porch Group Inc. in Seattle, to reinstate and pay back wages and compensatory damages to an employee who was fired in June 2023 after informing upper management about deceptive business practices.

A whistleblower investigation by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration found the employee alerted American Home Protect and Porch Group management that customer refunds, after canceling services, were not issued in a timely manner to hundreds of customers because the companies required them to complete unnecessary steps in the cancelation process. The employee suffered retaliation for reporting what they reasonably believed to be a violation of the law.

In addition to ordering the employee’s reinstatement, OSHA has instructed the employer to pay $109,661 in back wages and $76,289 in compensatory damages to the employee. The agency determined the companies violated provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Consumer Financial Protection Act that forbid employer retaliation against a worker who raises concerns about inappropriate financial activities.

—DISHONORABLE MENTIONS—

  • A federal workplace safety investigation into Petmate in Arlington, TX identified one willful violation and eight serious violations of required safety regulations during its investigation into how an employee suffered severe facial burns in December 2023 and the company now faces $280,000 in proposed penalties

  • Iron Hill Brewery, a chain across several states, has agreed to pay $115,000 and furnish other relief to settle an EEOC race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit for conduct from one of its Georgia locations. The EEOC alleged that Iron Hill Brewery retaliated against and ultimately fired a black employee because of his race and because of his complaints about the treatment of other minority employees

  • Eight home renovation companies in the St. Louis, MO area have agreed to pay over $65,000 collectively in penalties to the EPA to resolve alleged violations of the federal Toxic Substances Control Act.


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