SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 21 -- An accident-marred construction site at Guam's International Airport drew the largest fine ever levied by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration Thursday, a whopping $8.26 million, authorities said. Tino Serrano, a spokesman for the U.S. Labor Department in San Francisco, said investigators found Samsung Guam Inc. guilty of 118 instances of willful workplace safety violations.
The company was hit with the maximum fine of $70,000 for each violation. Serrano said it was the largest fine ever levied against a construction company and the second largest overall in OSHA's history. Of particular concern to OSHA officials were the large number of falls by workers, including one fatality, from unsafe scaffolding. 'For six months SGI decided to ignore obvious fall hazards brought to their attention,' said Joseph A. Dear, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety. 'One employee was impaled on a steel bar, another suffered a broken hip, and now an accident leaves behind a widow and two young children.' Dear was referring to a fatal fall suffered by Son Dul-kun, a 41- year-old South Korean welder who plummeted 51 feet (15.5 m) to his death from unsecured steel decking on a roof overhang. The company now has 15 days to contest the fine. Samsung Guam Inc. is a division of Samsung Heavy Industries Inc. Ltd. , which in turn is part of the Samsung Group, a South Korean international conglomerate. The troubled site is part of a $220 million airport expansion project.