The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it would be working more closely with OSHA on cases where criminal charges may be warranted and then followed through on that promise over the following years.

OSHA has the power to refer employers to the DOJ for criminal enforcement under the OSH Act, with penalties of up to six months in federal prison and a personal fine of up to $250,000.

Both federal agencies will review all cases “where there is an alleged willful violation resulting in a fatality for potential criminal enforcement,” according to law firm Seyfarth Shaw.

Examples of Criminal Charges

ALJ Home Improvement and its owner, Jose Lema, received more than 24 willful OSHA citations from 2019 to 2023. These citations included willful egregious fall protection violations that led to the deaths of two of Lema’s employees in August 2022 and February 2023. The Solicitor of Labor referred the case to the DOJ, resulting in the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York charging Lema for willfully violating OSHA regulations leading to an employee’s death. Those proceedings are ongoing.

In another report, a Colorado construction company owner surrendered to law enforcement after a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of felony manslaughter. Peter Dillon, owner of the now-defunct A4S LLC, was arrested after OSHA found that an employee’s death in a trench collapse was caused by the company’s refusal to require safety protection in the excavation despite worsening conditions at the worksite.

About the Author


Pete Nemmers

Pete Nemmers serves as NASP’s Director of Training Development, bringing a wealth of expertise to the organization. With a background rooted in safety and training, Pete plays a pivotal role in shaping the training programs offered by NASP. Pete ensures that NASP remains at the forefront of safety education, equipping professionals with the knowledge and skills necessary to navigate and excel in the dynamic field of safety.
Home » Blog » OSHA’s Collaboration with DOJ