Criminal Charges

Colorado contractor awaits sentencing on manslaughter charge after failing to protect employees in 2021 trench collapse that killed 23-year-old worker

A4S LLC, owner Peter Dillon failed to use legally required trench protection systems

BRECKENRIDGE, CO – The owner of an Avon construction company whose failure to follow required federal safety standards led to the 2021 trench collapse death of a 23-year-old employee in Breckenridge now awaits a November sentencing date after pleading guilty to manslaughter on Aug. 3, 2023.

The plea follows a criminal referral by the U.S. Department of Labor after Peter Dillon and his now defunct company, A4S LLC refused to require the use of proper safety equipment to protect his workers. The refusal contributed to a trench collapse in which a company employee, Marlon Diaz, suffered fatal injuries as he installed a residential sewer line.

After an investigation of the incident by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration, A4S LLC received three willful citations in May 2022 for not ensuring the excavation was inspected by a competent person, failing to instruct employees on the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and not having a trench protective system in place. OSHA also issued the company a serious citation for not having a safe means of exit within 25 lateral feet of employees working in a trench.

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Holding Violators Accountable

US Department of Labor sues Waukegan contractor who refuses to pay more than $360K in penalties for repeatedly endangering roofing employees

Contractor operating as ECS Roofing Professionals cited 9 times since 2014

Photo: OSHA

CHICAGO – The U.S. Department of Labor has filed suit in federal court to force a Waukegan roofing contractor to pay $360,531 in penalties for repeatedly exposing employees to falls from elevations, the leading cause of fatal injuries in the construction industry.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in Chicago, the action follows an Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission decision on March 6, 2023, that affirmed the citations issued by the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration after its investigation found that Joshua Herion — operator of ECS Roofing Professionals Inc. — exposed employees to deadly fall hazards at two separate job sites in Illinois and Wisconsin in October 2022.

Specifically, OSHA determined the contractor did not provide employees required fall arrest systems, a safety net or guardrails as they installed siding and roofing materials atop roofs in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, and at a job site in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

After OSHA issued citations and fined ECS Roofing $226,530 for the Illinois violations and $134,001 for violations in Wisconsin, the company contested the citations and penalties with the commission. Despite the commission’s decision affirming the penalties in full, Herion has failed to pay the penalties which led the department’s Office of the Solicitor in Chicago to file suit to recover the penalties.

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Fatal Safety Failure

Federal inspectors find Missouri roofing contractor allowed employees to work without fall protection, leading to young worker’s fatal injuries

Troyer Roofing & Coatings continues to defy safety standards

TRENTON, MO – On March 27, 2023, an 18-year-old employee of a Missouri contractor was applying sealant to a commercial building’s roof when he fell more than 22 feet and suffered serious injuries that left him in a coma for five days before dying.

After the tragic fall, the employer — Troyer Constructors LLP, operating as Troyer Roofing & Coatings — allowed a foreman and another worker to continue working without fall protection until they finished their shift. In addition, inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration learned the Jamesport employer had fall protection available but allowed employees to decide if they wanted to use it.

“Troyer Roofing & Coatings could have prevented this young worker’s death by requiring their employees to use fall protection equipment. Disturbingly, the employer allowed other workers to go back to work on the same roof without fall protection,” said OSHA Area Director Karena Lorek in Kansas City, Missouri. “Employers have an obligation to comply with requirements that are designed to prevent tragedies such as this from occurring.”

OSHA investigators determined that, in addition to not ensuring that employees used fall protection, the contractor failed to train them on how to use it. Investigators also found Troyer Roofing did not train employees on proper forklift operations, failed to provide workers with face and eye protection, and did not have a written hazard communication program for sealants and other chemicals the employer used.

OSHA cited Troyer Roofing & Coatings for one willful violation, three serious violations and one other-than serious violation and proposed penalties of $205,369. The agency cited the company for similar fall protection violations in 2015.

Based in Jamesport, Troyer Constructors LLP is a third-generation, family owned and operated business with more than 20 years of roofing industry expertise. Troyer Roofing & Coatings provides commercial roofing restorations and repairs to customers in north and central Missouri.

OSHA’s stop falls website offers safety information and video presentations in English and Spanish to teach workers about fall hazards and proper safety procedures.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

Learn more about OSHA. For small employers, OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Program offers no-cost and confidential occupational safety and health services, with priority given to high-hazard worksites, like construction. Companies interested in the program should contact their local OSHA On-Site Consultation program to discuss details and schedule an on-site safety and health evaluation. Find the On-Site Consultation program nearest you by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or visiting OSHA’s program website.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Original article published by OSHA

Disregard for Workers

Nationwide auto services provider exposed workers to potentially deadly electrical hazards at Beachwood Take 5 Car Wash, federal inspectors find

Driven Brands subsidiary faces $256K in penalties for 13 safety, health violations

BEACHWOOD, OH ‒ While the potential deadly risks of mixing electricity and water are well known, Take 5 Car Wash, a Beachwood company operated by a subsidiary of one of the nation’s largest automotive services companies, ignored reports of employees suffering electrical shocks for more than 14 months, a U.S. Department of Labor investigation has found.

In response to a complaint of unsafe working conditions, the department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an inspection of the car wash in March 2023 and learned that employees were assigned to clean the walls of the facility with high-pressure water near electrical equipment, including a 480-volt electrical panel not rated for wet or damp locations and showing signs of deterioration.

“Our investigation found that Take 5 Car Wash’s management knew that live electrical hazards existed throughout the facility, and that employees suffered electrical shocks repeatedly, yet allowed them to continue working in these conditions and took several weeks to make repairs after a worker suffered electrical shock,” said OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts in Cleveland. “It is unsettling that a company with such vast resources would expose employees to the potentially deadly risks of electrical shock.”

Inspectors also found rusted electrical boxes with live wires, improper use of flexible cords, and restrooms without properly grounded outlets, all of which exposed workers to potential shocks. Additionally, inspectors found multiple energized electrical cabinets and boxes were not guarded to prevent contact with live parts.

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Preventing Suicide

A purple and teal ribbon with the text "September is National Suicide Prevention Month."


As a mental health provider, I have seen firsthand the consequences of not paying attention to mental health, substance use and suicide prevention in workplaces. Unfortunately, workplaces are often overlooked when the reality is that mental health impacts workers’ productivity and performance, as well as the employers’ operations and mission. Employers need to recognize the misconception that pre-existing mental health conditions are not a concern in the workplace. Ignoring the warning signs of an individual’s mental health struggles could potentially escalate to the risk of suicide.

Suicide is a complex and distressing issue that touches all demographics in all industries. While suicide prevention awareness has grown there is more we need to do to address this issue in the workplace. The workplace is a significant part of people’s lives because of the time we spend there and often acts as a catalyst for stress, anxiety and other mental health challenges. Employers should consider mental health as part of their safety and health management system.

Recent studies show a concerning rise in suicide rates among workers, underscoring the urgency of this issue. Recognizing this increase is the necessary first step in taking effective prevention measures. The next step is promoting mental health awareness and eliminating the stigma of seeking help for psychological distress.

To cultivate a supportive environment that champions mental well-being and reduces the risk of suicide, employers can:

  • Implement mental health programs.
  • Provide resources for workers to get help.
  • Foster a culture of openness and understanding around mental health issues.
  • Train managers and staff to recognize the signs of mental distress and potential suicidal ideation.
  • Encourage open dialogue about mental health to destigmatize these issues and help those workers struggling to seek help.

Employer-provided resources such as Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), mental health days and access to mental health professionals can offer crucial support for workers in need. By taking these steps, workplaces can not only help prevent suicide but also enhance overall employee well-being and productivity. Raising awareness among employees and providing training on suicide prevention can empower colleagues to identify warning signs and take appropriate actions.

The importance of suicide prevention awareness in the workplace cannot be overstated. By prioritizing mental health support and prevention strategies, we can create healthier, more supportive workplaces that benefit everyone.

Find OSHA resources to help reduce workplace stress and support your workers’ mental health. You can also call or text 988, or visit

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Original article published by OSHA

Catastrophic Safety Failure

Federal investigators find Ohio foundry’s failure to follow required safety procedures led to fatal steam explosion

Photo by: News 5 Cleveland

1 fatality, 15 injuries, and work site’s complete loss

BEDFORD, OH – A federal workplace safety investigation into a Beford foundry explosion that caused the death of a maintenance supervisor and injuries to 15 other employees found the operator, I. Schumann & Co. LLC, failed to protect workers from the hazard of steam explosions.

Inspectors with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration learned the explosion happened while employees inspected a water leak on a furnace used to smelt solid metals. OSHA determined water leaked onto the molten metal inside the furnace, causing a steam explosion. Inspectors found the company did not make sure that required lockout/tag out procedures were followed during the inspection of the furnace.

“This terrible tragedy could have been avoided if the employer followed well-known machine safety standards that are meant to prevent this type of explosion,” explained OSHA Area Director Howard Eberts in Cleveland, Ohio. “Sadly, a worker lost his life and 15 others were hurt in an incident that was entirely preventable. It’s exactly why employers need to follow required safety procedures and train their employees.”

OSHA cited the company for six serious violations and has proposed $62,500 in penalties. The foundry remains closed since the explosion.

Based in Bedford since 1917, I. Schumann & Co. today recycles material into metal alloys, ingots and pellets.

OSHA’s machine guarding and control of hazardous energy webpages provide information on what employers must do to limit worker exposures to machine hazards.

McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Original article published by OSHA

Whistleblower Protection

Department of Labor orders Vermont agricultural equipment company to reinstate employee fired for raising environmental concerns

Champlain Valley Equipment must also pay over $145K in back wages, damages

BOSTON – In early June 2022, an employee of a Vermont company that sells and services agricultural equipment observed their employer pumping wastewater from the facility’s service bays onto the ground bordering the Winooski River in Berlin. The employee reported their concerns about the potential harm to the river, first to supervisors and then to the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation.

Shortly after, Champlain Valley Equipment fired the employee and the worker filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

After its investigation, OSHA determined that the company’s actions violated the whistleblower provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act and ordered Champlain Valley Equipment to reinstate the employee to their former position. The agency also ordered the company to pay the employee $45,015.72 in back wages, interest on the back wages, $50,000 in compensatory damages, $50,000 in punitive damages and the worker’s reasonable attorneys’ fees.

“The employee had a right to raise valid concerns about potential environmental harm to the Winooski River, an important water source,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Galen Blanton in Boston. “Employers who retaliate illegally against employees who engage in federally protected activities will be held accountable.”

In addition to ordering payment of back wages, damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees, OSHA ordered the employer to do the following:

  • Remove any reference to how the employee exercised their rights under the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act from their employment records.

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Supporting worker mental health: New videos from OSHA


Photo: U.S. Department of Labor

Washington — Three new videos from OSHA are aimed at helping employers support their workers’ mental health.

Each short video is available with Spanish-language captioning:

“Mental health touches every aspect of our lives, from the way we make decisions, from how we interact with other people, and also our performance,” Joseph Xavier, senior director of safety for Associated Builders and Contractors, says in one of the videos.

Employees who are experiencing mental health issues may show up to work late or impaired, be distracted on the job, and/or isolate themselves from their co-workers. Regularly asking workers how they and their families are doing can build a one-on-one relationship and, in some cases, get to the root cause of workplace incidents.

Along with NIOSH’s Total Worker Health Program, mental health resources such as ABC’s Total Human Health Toolkit can guide employers and assist workers. The toolkit includes a human health assessment tool; resources to engage workers during Suicide Prevention Month (observed each September); and 12 different worker-focused webpages and printable documents that cover active listening tips, how to upgrade a work-from-home routine and understanding depression.

OSHA published the videos during Safe + Sound Week (Aug. 7-13), which emphasized the importance of addressing mental health as part of every workplace safety and health program.

McCraren Compliance offers a full range of safety and health training and consulting services. Plus we can help you incorporate well-being into your traditional systems in order to support the Total Worker Health of your workforce.

Call 888-758-4757, email or visit our website

Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

OSHA announces ‘Beat the Heat’ contest winners

Photo: OSHA

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced the winners of its “Beat the Heat” contest. The national competition challenged stakeholders to share their best tools and resources for educating workers about the dangers of heat exposure in indoor and outdoor workplaces.

OSHA received 195 submissions from competitors in 40 states, the District of Columbia and Guam. A panel of experts judged submissions against criteria such as innovation, creativity, strength of message, best non-English language entry and indoor heat emphasis.

To view the winning entries, go to OSHA’s contest webpage. Information on protecting workers from heat illness and injury is available at

McCraren Compliance offers a full range of safety and health training and consulting services. Plus we can help you incorporate well-being into your traditional systems in order to support the Total Worker Health of your workforce.

Call 888-758-4757, email or visit our website

Original article published by OSHA

Chemical Safety Board calls for changes to OSHA’s PSM standard

Photo: Chemical Safety Board

Washington — OSHA should amend its guidance on the control of reactive hazards element of its standard on process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals (1910.119), the Chemical Safety Board says.

CSB makes 15 recommendations, while outlining additional concerns, in a recently released final report on a deadly December 2020 chemical explosion at the Optima Belle facility in Belle, WV. One worker died after the explosion of a dryer that was removing water from the compound. The blast also led to serious property damage and a shelter-in-place order for the surrounding community.

According to the report, the dryer was over-pressurized in part because facility management “did not adequately understand the potential for, analyze the hazards of, or detect and mitigate the self-accelerating thermal decomposition reaction.” In addition, the company for which the facility was producing the chemical didn’t transmit sufficient PSM data to Optima Belle, and both organizations had “ineffective” PSM systems.

CSB renewed its call for OSHA to “broaden” the PSM standard “to cover reactive hazards resulting from process-specific conditions and combinations of chemicals,” as well as hazards from self-reactive chemicals.

The report details six safety lessons for the industry:

  • Don’t rely solely on chemical hazard information from Safety Data Sheets when using the chemical at elevated temperatures or pressures, or with other temperatures with which the chemical could react. Information can vary significantly between suppliers. Be prepared to perform additional hazard analyses or to seek additional publicly available information.
  • Ensure chemical hazard information identified from previous incidents, studies, and lab tests are maintained and organized in a manner that will allow workers to be aware of the information and its appropriate use.
  • Be aware of the multiple tools capable of identifying whether a chemical has thermal or reactive hazards that could trigger a process safety incident.
  • Make sure hazards involving new processes are controlled by evaluating process safety information on involved chemicals, examining the laboratory and pilot-scale process, and consult site safety and process engineering personnel to determine if the process can be safely conducted at the tolling facility at full production scale with existing equipment.
  • Create and maintain a robust safety management system to prevent reactive chemical incidents.
  • Know that outsourcing the production or processing of a hazardous material doesn’t outsource the responsibility for process safety.

McCraren Compliance offers a full range of safety and health training and consulting services. Plus we can help you incorporate well-being into your traditional systems in order to support the Total Worker Health of your workforce.

Call 888-758-4757, email or visit our website

Original article published by Safety+Health an NSC publication