New Jersey Contractor Racks Up $1.9M in OSHA Fines for Willful and Serious Violations

Dept. of Justice filed suit early in 2019 against the framer to collect 2013 and 2017 penalties, and new investigations beginning last December yielded citations for exposing workers to safety hazards at four Bergen County, New Jersey sites

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is proposing penalties against BB Frame LLC – operating as Frame Q and as Juan Quevedo (the owner and principal) – for exposing workers to multiple safety hazards at four Bergen County, New Jersey, worksites. OSHA conducted five investigations beginning in December 2019 of the Palisades Park, N.J., framing contractor and proposes penalties totalling $1,997,125.

In February 2019, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a lawsuit alleging Frame Q failed to pay the Department of the Treasury over $678,053 in civil penalties and delinquency fees. OSHA had levied the fines between 2013 and 2017 for dozens of violations, including lack of fall protection and ladder safety. Shortly after the DOJ filed suit, Quevedo dissolved Frame Q LLC, but continued doing business as Frame Q while using the BB Frame corporate entity.

In December 2019, OSHA conducted a complaint investigation at a worksite in Cliffside Park, N.J., and cited the company for nine safety violations and a $520,860 proposed penalty. OSHA conducted another investigation in Fort Lee, N.J., and cited the company for five citations with a proposed penalty of $426,785.

In January 2020, as part of OSHA’s local emphasis program for fall hazards, the agency opened an investigation at a different location in Cliffside Park. It resulted in five safety citations with a $405,588 proposed penalty.

OSHA completed two additional investigations in February 2020 at a Palisades Park, New Jersey, site. The agency initiated one as part of the local emphasis program for fall hazards, and issued three citations with a proposed penalty of $274,892. The other investigation, initiated in response to a complaint, resulted in eight violations and a $369,000 proposed penalty.

“This employer’s extensive history of egregious disregard for the safety of workers will not be tolerated,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Richard Mendelson, in New York. “Employers are required by law to provide workers with safe and healthful workplaces.”

“Worker safety should be an employer’s top priority every day,” said OSHA Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Loren Sweatt. “OSHA has extensive resources to assist employers with providing a workplace free from recognized hazards and complying with occupational safety and health standards.”

The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations (view the citations here, here, here, here, and here) and proposed 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.