The Occupational Health and Safety Administration recently cited a manufacturing company located in Cincinnati, Ohio, for several safety violations, including for violations arising from a workplace accident last fall in which an employee lost an arm. The employee had been performing maintenance on a power press. The accident occurred because the power press had not been adequately isolated from its power supply prior to the maintenance.
The company may now have to pay a considerable amount in fines. OSHA issued the company 10 citations, including citations for two willful violations, six serious violations and a repeat violation. Currently, the fines stand at $111,000.
OSHA issues citations for willful safety violations when an employer knowingly disregards the law or shows indifference to an employee’s health and safety. In this case, the company allegedly committed such violations by failing to properly separate the power press from its power source and by failing to lock up the equipment designed to ensure that the company’s presses remained unpowered during maintenance.
A serious safety violation occurs when the employer knows or should have known about a hazardous condition with a substantial probability of injuring workers. Knowlton’s alleged serious violations include things such as failure to provide safety guards on equipment and failing to properly maintain cords.
A repeat violation occurs when the offender has received a citation for a similar safety violation within the past five years. Last week, OSHA said that the company had failed to inspect the power presses with regularity. OSHA cited the company for the same offense in July 2007.
The OSHA fines are not related to the workers’ compensation coverage that the workplace accident victim should receive. A workers’ compensation claim should afford the injured worker monetary compensation for medical expenses and lost wages, among other things. As we noted recently in our Columbus Workers’ Compensation Law Blog, workers’ compensation benefits include a specific provision for injured workers who have sustained the loss of use of body part or an amputation due to a workplace injury.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, “U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA cites Knowlton Manufacturing in Cincinnati after worker’s arm is amputated by mechanical power press,” Scott Allen and Rhonda Burke, April 11, 2012