OH Painting Firm Fined for Child Labor Violations

TUESDAY, APRIL 2, 2024


A recent investigation from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Wage and Hour Division found that an Ohio painting company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act’s child labor provisions.

Neubert Painting Inc., along with its owner John Neubert, reportedly hired two 17-year-old minors to paint homes during the summers of 2021 and 2022.

Additionally, the employer had assigned the minors to work from clients’ roofs to paint multi-story houses. Hazardous order 16 reportedly forbids minors from most jobs in roofing operations, including work performed on or about a roof.

“Employers must be acutely aware of the restrictions that apply to any workers under the age of 18,” said Wage and Hour District Director Matthew Utley in Columbus, Ohio.

“Work that involves children on roofs is inherently dangerous. Employers who violate federal child labor laws jeopardize the lives and health of children and risk large fines and penalties.”

According to OSHA, the Wage and Hour Division has assessed $30,276 in civil money penalties for child labor violations. 

During the inquiry, investigators also found the Brook Park company—which provides painting, staining, aluminum siding refinishing and gutter-cleaning services—failed to maintain accurate payroll records.

Recent OSHA Violations

Last month, investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA determined that a Butler County, Pennsylvania, company could have prevented a supervisor from suffering fatal injuries in September.

Vorteq Coil Finishers, LLC, of Valencia, Pennsylvania, is a finisher of steel and aluminum coils. The investigation was opened by OSHA against the company on Sept. 6 last year.

According to the administration, the 46-year-old employee was instructed to clean a chrome roller on a coater machine while it was in operation. The worker was reportedly then pulled into the machine and suffered fatal injuries.

OSHA has cited the company for two willful and two serious violations based, partly, for failing to implement lockout/tagout procedures and not installing machine guarding. Additionally, the agency has proposed $345,685 in penalties, and OSHA has placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Prior to that, in February, OSHA fined a Rhode Island painting company over $60,000 after an investigation found that it failed to protect workers from lead paint exposure while recoating a parking garage last fall.

DR Colors LLC, a company with addresses in Rhode Island and Florida that professes to do lead renovation work, had reportedly been hired to recoat and refinish the multi-level parking garage across from the Providence Performing Arts Center.

The company came under investigation in September, after representatives from the painters and trades unions visited the worksite. Afterwards, they notified federal and state authorities about possible lead paint exposure.

According to union representatives, as well as videos taken at the site, there were plumes of dust rising from sandblasting the garage. The workers for DR Colors, a non-union company, were reportedly not wearing protective gear, and efforts to contain the worksite were “so poor” that dust spilled into the air inside and outside the garage.

The union representatives added that they applied lead-paint test sticks to the garage beams that were about to be sandblasted. The applicators immediately turned positive for lead paint.

The OSHA investigation reportedly led to seven violations, including failure to assess the workers’ exposure to lead paint, as well as failing to provide protective equipment, including respirators.

Shortly before that fine, a Framingham, Massachusetts, roofing contractor was cited once again by OSHA after exposing employees to potentially fatal flaws.

Brothers Construction Services Inc., which also operates as Brothers Construction and Roofing and Brothers Roofing, most recently violated fall-related safety regulations at a residential worksite in Boston's Hyde Park neighborhood.

OSHA reportedly opened an inspection of Brothers Construction at the Lexington Avenue worksite on Aug. 17, 2023, in response to a complaint that workers on the roof of a residential property were not using fall protection.

Inspectors said they observed multiple OSHA violations involving inadequate fall protection, scaffolds, ladders, training, safety inspections and personal protective equipment.

As a result of these conditions, OSHA cited Brothers Construction Services Inc. for eight willful, repeat, serious and other than serious violations, amounting to a total of $306,229 in proposed penalties.

   

Tagged categories: Civil Penalty; Fall protection; Good Technical Practice; Health & Safety; Health and safety; Labor; NA; North America; OSHA; OSHA; Painting Contractors; Program/Project Management; Regulations; Roofs; Safety; Violations; Workers

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.