A single worker’s safety-related complaint against an Ohio industrial machinery manufacturer has created a ripple-effect that expanded into an investigation of the company by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which in turn led to 13 safety and health violation citations.
Fortunately, none of the 13 alleged OSHA violations are apparently connected with injuries. And, the company is in fact claiming to have had a one-year period of no accidents that resulted in lost time. Nevertheless, some of the unsafe work environment claims that OSHA has levied against the employer offer a glimpse into what the government considers to be “serious” violations, including:
- Failure to keep up with annual equipment maintenance procedures;
- Storing flammable liquids in exit paths; and
- Not providing workers with appropriate equipment and training with regard to firefighting and the handling of dangerous chemicals.
In addition to these very serious violations, OSHA has also faulted the company for repeat violations as well as multiple non-serious violations. The violations may cost the company close to $140,000 in fines, according to a news report.
This example is a reminder that Ohio workers do not need to wait for OSHA to act on its own if they see conditions that could lead to workplace accidents or wait until an accident has happened before coming forward.
Even companies with ostensibly good safety records can be potentially unsafe working environments. It is a good idea to speak up when dangerous workplace conditions are suspected rather than waiting until it is too late.
Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer, “OSHA cites Kobelco Stewart Bolling Inc. in Hudson for violations, including those that could lead to amputation,” Olivera Perkins, May 16, 2014