The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for ensuring worker safety by devising and enforcing regulations that require employers to follow certain safety precautions. If an employer refuses to obey an OSHA order, the result can be a heavy fine. An Ohio foundry recently learned this lesson when a follow-up OSHA inspection found that the company was continuing to expose workers to workplace accidents involving machinery and fall hazards.
The company was first cited by OSHA for safety violations in 2013 and 2014. A recent OSHA inspection found that the company had failed to cure the omissions cited in the earlier reports. The omissions included:
- Failure to develop and implement adequate lockout and tagging procedures for repairing machinery;
- Exposing workers to live electrical contacts
- Failure to install proper machine guards
- Exposing workers to fall hazards by failing to install guard rails and cover floor holes
On Jan. 17, 2017, OSHA levied fines for these violations that totaled $235,000.
OSHA’s area director said that “companies cited repeatedly for the same safety violations demonstrate a lack of concern for employee safety.” He added that “manufacturing facilities need to take a hard look at machinery operations, guarding and safety training to protect employees from injuries on the job.”
Anyone who has been injured in a workplace accident caused by the employer’s violation of state or federal laws and regulations may have a claim for workers’ compensation benefits from the employer or civil tort damages from any third party who may be at fault. A conference with a lawyer who handles workplace injury cases can provide a useful evaluation of the law and facts of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of recovering workers’ compensation benefits or civil damages.
Source: Recycling Today, “OSHA cites Ohio foundry for failing to address safety issues,” Jan. 25, 2017