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Ohio business cited for violation of workplace safety rules

The law requires employers to do their reasonable best to prevent job-related injuries. The government may issue fines against employers who do not comply with this requirement. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently cited Lowe’s, a large home improvement chain, for violating workplace safety standards. OSHA cited the company for five repeat violations and one serious violation of safety standards.

The chain had recorded a higher rate of workplace injuries than is average, which prompted an OSHA investigation.

According to OSHA rules, repeat violations occur when an employer breaks similar rules more than once in five years. It does not matter if the violations occur in different facilities. This applies to all facilities owned by the same employer. OSHA classifies as serious any violations that can cause grave workplace injuries.

One repeat violation cited involved using cords instead of fixed wires. Another was leaving unused electrical panels open. The home improvement chain also allegedly left live parts of electrical equipment exposed, which could cause serious workplace injuries.

According to OSHA, the business did not train workers to handle flammable liquid containers. It also failed to educate them on the voluntary use of respiratory equipment. It is the employer’s duty to teach employees about proper behaviors to avoid workplace accidents.

One senior official working for OSHA in Columbus, Ohio, said that the company had failed to create a safety-conscious culture, and claimed that the business has not implemented safety standards in all its facilities. The company had received similar citations in other states. The serious violation that OSHA cited the chain for was based on the failure to adhere to listed instructions for electrical equipment.

Workers have the right to a safe employment environment and to file a complaint if the employer fails to provide that environment. If the employer retaliates against the employee for doing so, then consulting with an attorney is an advisable step to take.

Source: Norwalk Reflector, "OSHA cites Ohio Lowe’s for repeat electrical hazards," July 22, 2014

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The Bainbridge Firm, LLC

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