A federal court in Jacksonville has assessed a $50,000 penalty to a north Florida construction contractor for attempting to deceive federal workplace safety investigators.
On Jan. 26, Alcir DeSouza – owner of DeSouza Framing Inc. – pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court Middle District of Florida to a felony count of making a false statement during a U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigation.
The court found DeSouza lied to investigators during an OSHA inspection into his St. Johns company after two investigations in October and December 2017 found he willfully exposed employees to fall hazards by allowing them to work on roofs without fall protection systems. OSHA proposed $199,178 in penalties for the two inspections.
“No employer should ever believe they have a choice when it comes to ensuring their workers have a safe and healthful workplace, and all employers should think twice before lying to a federal safety official about their failure to do so,” said OSHA acting Area Director Nolan Houser in Jacksonville, Florida. “Employers need to recognize that their honesty and cooperation with every OSHA inspection is paramount to protecting their employees.”
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to ensure these conditions for America’s workers by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance.