The Occupational Safety and Health Administration can only do so much to protect employees, and then it is up to the employer to do its part. However, some employers would rather pay large fines and continue with “business as usual” than make the necessary corrections.
It appears to be that way with one Philadelphia company that manufactures products such as ducts, ventilation and fire safety products. Lloyd Industries, Inc. has some pretty large customers too. Their products are used by places such as the Philadelphia International Airport, the New York Yankees and Baltimore Ravens stadiums, and New York’s Chrysler Building. OSHA claims that they have been warned and received numerous fines over the past 15 years for failing to meet safety standards.
The heavy machinery used at the plant lacks the proper safety guards, and employers are exposed to an excessive noise level. Yearly tests to protect the employees’ hearing is not provided either.
Since 2000, there have been approximately 40 reported “serious” workplace injuries. Employee finger injuries include: crushed fingers, fractures, dislocations and amputations. Serious lacerations of body parts has also occurred.
According to OSHA, the company has been defiant towards implementing the safety standards for which they have been issued violations. Lloyd has agreed to correct the hazards when the violations are discovered by OSHA inspectors, but upon their return they find other similar violations. Once, they refused entry to OSHA inspectors — even with a warrant — and U.S. federal marshals had to be called in.
A more recent injury in July 2014, described as “gruesome,” resulted in OSHA fining the company $822,000. They have been fined over $1 million in total since 2000, and are now listed on OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.
Despite OSHA’s best efforts, when a company refuses to protect its employees from injury, employees suffer. They must rely on their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance for medical treatment and other expenses related to their losses. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation is a state or federal-mandated insurance program, and can be overly busy and slow to respond. To be fairly compensated, employees often need an attorney who has their best interests in mind to be sure that workers’ compensation does not neglect their case or put it on the back burner.
Source: United States Department of Labor, “Pennsylvania duct manufacturer faces more than $1M in fines as workers suffer dozens of injuries, including crushed and amputated fingers,” May. 11, 2015