Have you ever wondered if OSHA would fine your company over a Form 300 violation even if you got everything else right as far as safety is concerned? This court case shows it will.
In a case that came before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC), a company had several serious safety violations dropped after proving it dotted every “i” and crossed every “t” when it came to safety, but still had to pay a $1,600 fine for keeping a sloppy OSHA 300 log.
Bergelectric Corp. was hired to install the electrical system for a renovation of the San Manuel Casino in Highland, CA.
On April 29, 2017, an employee working in the building’s rafters fell 24 feet to the floor of the casino, suffering broken ribs and fractures to his spine.
Because the incident occurred on a tribal reservation, which is subject to federal jurisdiction, federal OSHA was called in to conduct the investigation.
Inspectors found the worker wasn’t connected to a fall protection device at the time of the incident, and citations for three serious violations targeting the company’s fall protection program and one other-than-serious violation for a 300 log violation were issued.
Bergelectric contested the citations, and the case was brought before the OSHRC.
During the proceedings, the company produced the Activity Hazard Analysis it prepared for the project, which addresses the specific hazards employees would encounter.
The analysis detailed the fall hazards and gave detailed information on what fall protection equipment to use and where and how to connect it. It also provided information on rescue plans and procedures, training, inspection, and other hazard-related issues.
Records of the tool-box talks and safety meetings all employees engaged in on a daily basis before beginning work at the project site were also provided.
The company also offered documentation of disciplinary action it took against employees who violated its safety policies.
Bergelectric’s detailed hazard analysis for the project and all the other documentation it provided played a major role in swaying the court to drop the serious violations.
300 log entries too vague
However, while the majority of the company’s documents were perfectly managed and presented, the 300 log was a different story.
Under the entry for the incident in question, the company didn’t include the specific injury suffered, the part of the body affected, or the cause of the injury.
The entry said only “multiple injuries” to “multiple body systems,” according to the OSHRC decision.
Other entries made before this incident were also lacking in details, specifically in sections regarding where incidents occurred and what caused the injury or illness.
Bergelectric requested a 25% reduction to the penalty because of its good-faith efforts, but the court upheld the full $1,630 fine because the 300 log entries were “woefully deficient.”