Georgia workers who feel threatened by safety hazards to which they are exposed at their places of employment have the right to report their concerns to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA may follow such reports with investigations to determine whether the company owners violated the prescribed safety regulations. Failure to protect workers from workplace injuries is punishable by law, and, if violations are identified, they are graded and penalties are leveled accordingly.
Repeated violations are those that have been identified and cited on prior inspections during the previous five years. Serious violations occur when employers disregard the safety hazards of which they are aware — or of which they should be aware. Following a complaint filed with OSHA, a crate-and-box manufacturer in Georgia was inspected and found to have violated several safety regulations. The inspection was initiated in October of last year and was recently completed when the company was issued citations totaling $59,400.
Serious violations included the presence of sliding locks on exit doors that could jeopardize the ability of workers to quickly exit in emergency situations and failure to provide appropriate hand protection. In addition, the absence of a program to test noise levels and the lack of proper employee training related to the hazards of noise were also cited as serious violations. Repeat violation citations were issued for not having action plans in place for emergencies, a drill press not being securely anchored to the floor and two violations related to the dangers of dust inhalation. The company was also cited for these violations in 2010 and 2014.
While workplace accidents are typically investigated by OSHA, injured workers have the right to pursue compensation. They are entitled to file claims for workers’ compensation benefits that will provide compensation for medical expenses stemming from accidents. Workplace injuries often lead to substantial periods away from work, and the workers’ compensation insurance fund typically provides financial aid based on an injured employee’s average salary.
Source: northwestgeorgianews.com, “OSHA cites Adairsville wood crate manufacturer for repeated workplace violations“, April 9, 2015