The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exists to protect individuals and help ensure everyone has safe working environments. In order to make sure potentially dangerous conditions are as safe as possible, OSHA routinely inspects various businesses and jobsites. Companies who fail to meet health and safety checks put their workers at risk for serious injuries and even wrongful death.
Some companies make honest mistakes, and when they realize their shortcomings, they take prompt measures to fix them. Other companies, however, seem to aggressively fight against the best interests of their employees. Honeywell, a Fortune 100 company, is facing charges for refusing to comply with U.S. federal law and OSHA safety checks.
When OSHA inspectors visit businesses, they have a right to request that a worker accompany them as they walk through the facilities. The director of health with Safety and Environment for the United Steelworks (USW) explained it succinctly when he said, “An inspector may know a lot about safety, but not much about the plant and you can’t expect management to point out problems that might get them cited.”
However, Honeywell refused to provide a worker to accompany the OSHA inspector during a recent walk through the plant. Prior to the investigation, Honeywell locked the 228 union workers out of the plant and substituted poorly trained workers in their places. Since then, there have been numerous dangerous events at the plant, thereby prompting the OSHA investigation.
To help ensure the safety of individuals who work in high-risk professions, it is critical that employers comply with OSHA regulations. Many of the chemicals used at Honeywell are toxic. When speaking about the chemicals used at Honeywell, the president of USW said, “If they are not handled safely, they are a threat to people in the plant and community residents for miles around. So what’s Honeywell trying to hide from OSHA?”
Source: Energy Digital, “Honeywell Denies OSHA Access to Union Workers at Uranium Plant,” John Shimkus, 19 February 2011