One of the federal organizations that helps ensure safe working conditions for all of us is the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA wants to make sure you are protected from egregious hazards, because most workplace injuries and deaths are preventable.
Unfortunately, not everyone is on board with worker safety. Every year, OSHA puts out a list of top 10 violations that arise from their inspections of worksites all over our nation. The ten largest fines added up to over $10 million in 2015 alone. And working in an industrial, factory, or construction setting makes you especially vulnerable to harm.
Here are the 10 standards most often cited for violations by OSHA:
- Fall protection (a standard for construction jobs), which outlines the circumstances for when protection is needed and what kinds of protective systems are appropriate. Over 7,400 citations were given out, with 4,079 of them in residential construction. One of the ten largest fines was handed down to DNRB Inc. dba Fastrack Erectors in Pacific, MO. They were penalized $511,000 after the over 30-foot fall of a 22-year-old worker.
- Hazard communication, which covers communications about hazardous chemical environments and the chemicals themselves; 2015 saw 5,681 violations.
- Scaffolding (a standard for construction jobs), which involves the many regulations for appropriate scaffolding structures at 10 feet or higher above the ground; 4,681 violations.
- Respiratory protections, which details how to protect the airways of workers; 3,626 violations. In 2015, two companies were cited in the top ten largest fines: First Capital Insulations, Inc., York, PA, $490,000, and Kehrer Brothers Construction, Okawville, IL, almost $1.8 million, both for exposing workers to asbestos. Additionally, Case Farms Processing, Inc., Winesburg, OH, was fined a whopping $1.87 million, part of which ($462,000) involved problems with ammonia refrigeration systems. Ammonia exposure often causes respiratory problems.
- Lockout/tagout, which spells out the controls needed for hazardous electrical situations involving the maintenance and repair of electrical equipment and machines; 3.308 violations.
- Powered industrial trucks (platform lift trucks, motorized hand trucks, etc.); 3,004 violations.
- Ladders; 2,732 violations.
- Wiring methods (electrical), covering the grounding of electrical wiring and equipment, as well as insulation; 2,624 violations.
- Machine guards, which details safeguards that prevent serious injuries to workers; 2,540 violations. Ashley Furniture, Whitehall and Arcadia, WI, was fined nearly $2.3 million for failing to protect workers from the moving parts of machinery, resulting in more than 1,000 injuries, including amputations. Also, Lloyd Industries, Inc., Montgomery, PA, was fined $822,000 due to dozens of crushing and amputation injuries.
- General requirements (electrical), specifying general safety requirements for electrical systems; 2,181 violations. Dollar Tree was fined $825,000 for electrical hazards in its stores, among other safety issues.
Other companies that landed on the top 10 list of largest fines for 2015 are:
- Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services (NRCS), Omaha, NE, was fined $963,000 for an explosion that killed two workers inside a railcar, with a third worker injured.
- Hartman Construction & Equipment Inc., Anchorage, AK, was fined $560,000 for trenching hazards after a worker died.
- Alfa Laval, Broken Arrow, OK, was fined $477,900 for a variety of safety hazards, including combustible dust.
Injured on the Job? Call A Local Baltimore Work Injury Lawyer.
Employers, businesses and managers have a responsibility to ensure proper training and as safe a work environment as possible, in accordance with all regulations. Unfortunately, equipment malfunctioning, co-worker negligence, and bad decisions can place workers at risk. Steve Heisler has devoted 25 years to helping injured people and their families pursue compensation from those who caused them to be injured. Steve approaches each case with compassion and thorough investigation, leaving no stone unturned in his goal of obtaining justice for persons harmed by the actions or inactions of negligent employers, manufacturers and sub-contractors. If you or your loved one has been injured or killed in a work-related accident anywhere in Maryland, call the Baltimore injury lawyers of the Law Offices of Steven H. Heisler today at (410) 625-4878 or use our online contact form. The initial consultation is always free.