Safety and OSHA News

Feds shut down company, call it ‘imminent hazard’

Yep, the federal government can shut down some types of businesses if it thinks the company is an imminent hazard. 

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued the order against Maryland-based trucking company, Gunthers Transport.

The FMCSA says Gunthers’ drivers exceeded the 11-hour daily driving limit, and its trucks were in such poor condition that they were a high crash risk.

On top of the shutdown, Gunthers could also face civil or criminal penalties. If it defies the shutdown order, FMCSA could issue fines of $16,000 per day.

The FMCSA says Gunthers:

  • allowed driving beyond 14 hours after the start of drivers’ workdays
  • allowed drivers to falsify logbooks, and
  • didn’t require drivers to complete pre-trip vehicle inspections.

Over the past year, Gunthers has been involved in several crashes that include one fatality and four injuries.

More than a decade ago, a previous incarnation of the company, Gunthers Leasing Transport and its president, Mark Gunther, were found guilty of falsifying records to evade federal laws that limit the number of hours commercial drivers can spend behind the wheel. Mark Gunther was also convicted of perjury and conspiracy to defraud. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison, and the company was fined $170,000.

Shutting down a company is rare for FMCSA. On average, the agency orders 10 companies to cease business each year.

For the industries covered by OSHA, do you think there are ten situations per year in which it would be justified for the agency to shut down businesses? Let us know in the comments below.

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