The temptations for employers to cut corners on workplace safety are always there. They do not do as much as they should to create and maintain safe places to work. As a result, many employees get injured in work accidents that should have been prevented.
Of course, sometimes safety violations don’t always lead immediately to injuries. But the violations elevate the risk of injury. That is why the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) takes such violations so seriously.
In a recent Pennsylvania case, OSHA issued nearly $130,000 in fines against a soft drink production facility in Allentown. OSHA found 16 violations of workplace safety standards at the plant. Fourteen of those were repeat violations.
The violations included electrical hazards and the absence of proper noise engineering controls. Many of the problems OSHA identified involved noise. The employer failed to train employees adequately on the effects of negative effects of noise exposure. It also failed to monitor the hearing of employees on an annual basis.
There were other problems at the plant as well. One was lack of proper energy controls for machines. Another was failure to have an unobstructed exit. There were also problems with a defective forklift and improper storage of an electrical cable.
The director of OSHA’s Allentown office summed up the agency’s efforts well. “By continuing to disregard OSHA standards,” she said, the bottling company that received the fines “put its workers at risk of serious injuries.” In other words, OSHA simply will not tolerate repeat violations that come to its attention.
Employees should also know, however, that OSHA is not their only hope. When employees get hurt, workers’ compensation law exists to help them recover from their injuries and move forward.
Source: “OSHA Fines Pennsylvania Soft Drink Company Nearly $130,000,” Occupational Health & Safety, 2-6-13
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