As we have discussed in previous posts, employers have a responsibility to provide “safe and healthful workplaces,” to ensure their employees can perform their duties without fear of harm. Despite these expectations, employers do not always abide by the safety standards and regulations put in place to create safe work environments. In such situations, the employer may be fined by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to enforce compliance with safety rules to prevent workplace injuries.
Recently, OSHA cited a company located in Phoenixville due to 13 serious violations and one so-called other-than-serious violation. The company, Danco Precision, Inc., manufactures “lamination dies, metal stampings, electrical magnetic cores, carbide dies, specialty tools and precision machine parts.” Danco has around 40 employees and its products are sold internationally.
The 13 serious violations could result in penalties of $52,500 for the company. A serious violation is defined as one in which a “substantial probability” exists that the violation could lead to a fatality or “serious physical harm” and that the employer either knew of the violation or should have known about it. In this case, the serious violations included failing to provide:
- Barriers, to prevent falls
- Protective equipment
- Proper training, for the hazard communication plan and operating industrial trucks
- Hand tools, to remove scraps from machines
- Material safety data sheets
In addition, the citations included a failure on the part of the employer to properly inspect the machines and to label vessels containing chemicals.
If an employee had been injured due to one of these numerous safety violations, he or she could have been eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. As the process can be complex, consulting with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorney in such a situation is wise.
Source: OSHA, “US Labor Department’s OSHA cites Phoenixville, Pa., die manufacturer for serious workplace hazards,” August 23, 2012.