A company that operates in New Jersey is facing $1.9 million in penalties from the United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The violations are many, a total of 51 safety and health violations were cited.
Why is the company facing such high penalties? Part of the reason for the steep fines is the fact that these violations were deemed “willful.” This was supported by the agency’s contention that the business had repeatedly been warned and yet failed to comply with federal safety and health standards.
The company received previous citations for fall hazards, electrical hazards and a failure to provide proper guarding around machinery.
Were the violations serious? Yes, the agency notes that many of these violations were serious and some resulted in on-the-job injuries for workers. In fact, a News Release from OSHA points out two accidents that occurred just prior to the investigation. One accident involved employees that were forced to enter tanks to drain out sludge filled with dangerous chemicals. The workers stopped when they began to experience chemical burns. They reported to the employer, who required the workers return to the task. The workers suffered serious injuries and one required hospitalization.
The second incident noted in the publication involved a worker that was injured by a piece of machinery. The machinery did not have proper guards and the worker was crushed by moving parts of the machine. The worker suffered a broken pelvis.
What can other workers in New Jersey learn from this incident? OSHA is holding the company accountable for these violations. In addition to the fines, the agency is also known to require educational and training programs to help reduce the risk of future incidents.
Additional options are available for the workers. Workers in New Jersey that are injured while working often qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. This form of compensation can help the worker to make ends meet while focusing on healing. Unfortunately, getting these benefits is not always as easy as it should be. As such, injured workers are wise to seek legal counsel. An experienced New Jersey workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer can review the details of your accident and provide legal counsel on the best course of action.