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Company cited with safety violations after worker is injured

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 mandates that employers must provide "safe and healthful workplaces" for their employees. Unfortunately, not all employers follow the law.

Workers who are injured in a workplace accident, particularly when their employers have violated the law's requirements regarding worker safety and health, may be entitled to medical and wage benefits under workers' compensation provisions.

A company in Ohio that makes custom plastic molds has been charged with five safety violations after a worker was struck by a forklift and injured, according to the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The company also faces possible penalties of $89,000 for the violations.

A spokesperson for OSHA noted that employers are responsible for making sure its workers are trained how to operate equipment properly and that equipment like the forklifts are kept in good repair.

The company received one willful violation for not removing unsafe forklifts from service. Two of the three company facilities had been cited by OSHA for the same violation - one in 2010 and one in 2011 - in addition to the complaint filed in September 2012 for the Ohio facility. A willful violation charges that the company knew it was violating the law or disregarded the law when it committed the violation, or it did so with indifference to worker safety and health.

It also received three serious violations for not making forklift inspections, not retraining workers in how to operate a forklift after an incident where an injury occurred, and not operating a forklift safely. A serious violation charges death or serious injury could have arisen as the result of a danger the employer knew or should have known about.

The company also received one other-than-serious violation for not having name and load capacity plates posted on the forklifts. An other-than-serious violation is related to job safety and health, but likely would not cause death or serious injury.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "US Labor Department's OSHA cites Plastic Systems in Kenton, Ohio, with 5 safety violations after worker injured when struck by forklift," Jan. 10, 2013

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