Judge Holds Contractor Personally Liable for Safety Violations
OSHA held a New Jersey contractor personally liable for $2 million in penalties following several years of citations and unpaid penalties across multiple businesses in his name.
Along with holding his company’s accountable for dozens of citations, a federal administrative law judge ruled the owner, Juan Quevedo-Garcia, abused the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
After one of his companies was cited early on in 2019, and overall unpaid company fines totaled more than $700,000, investigators said Quevedo-Garcia dissolved the business and opened under a new name.
Between late 2019 and 2020 alone, OSHA investigators cited the new business with more than 30 violations following five different inspections at various worksites.
Investigators said violations spanned from failure to use fall, head and eye protection to unsafe scaffolding, and lack of forklift training.
The judge left no room for question when Quevedo-Garcia contested the complaints.
In a February 2022 decision, the judge ruled that Quevedo-Garcia is personally liable for the citations and paying $2,004,225 for the combined penalties.
It is a stark warning for business leaders they can be personally held accountable for actions within their own business pertaining to safety.
Holding Quevedo-Garcia “personally liable for the company’s violations and resulting penalties is necessary to prevent the continued or renewed circumvention of the OSH Act and avoidance of the Act’s expressed legislative purpose and policy,” the judge wrote in the ruling.
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