A recent federal appeals court ruling holds the president of a New Jersey construction company personally liable for more than $400,000 in OSHA fines the company failed to pay for numerous safety violations.

The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third District means that if Altor Inc., of Washington Township, N.J., fails to pay $412,000 in penalties, company president Vasilio Saites must cough it up.

The appeals court found Saites in contempt of court July 25 after he and the company ignored a previous order to pay the fines after the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission affirmed the violations.

OSHA has cited Altor for numerous safety violations, including what are described as "multiple, willful violations" of OSHA's fall protection standards.

Contempt Judgement

The court's contempt judgment says Saites is liable for the full $412,000 penalty if Altor does not pay.

If the full amount is not paid within 30 days, or Saites and Altor show the court why they cannot pay it, the Secretary of Labor will propose a daily penalty for the court to assess.

"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," Solicitor of Labor Kate O'Scannlain said in a statement.

The court's ruling follows lengthy litigation by the Office of the Solicitor, including multiple hearings before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission and the court of appeals, to affirm Altor's violations of safety requirements and address the company's long-standing refusal to pay penalties.

For more information, contact CBIA's Phillip Montgomery (860.244.1982).