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Safety hazards garner OSHA citations at Scranton company

Despite numerous incidents of crushed or amputated fingers at a Scranton company over the past couple of years, a recent inspection by OSHA revealed the company has done nothing to correct the existing safety hazards. Reportedly, the company, Olympia Chimney Supply, has 15 days from the citation date in order to make all ordered repairs.

The OSHA inspection came on the heels of a filed complaint about ongoing safety problems at the company. The company's failure to take precautionary steps to minimize amputation risks led to 14 violations with fines totaling $49,000.

Violations included multiple machines in the facility that had no safety guards in place. Other machines were found to not have automatic stops in order to prevent them from turning during maintenance activities. Of the 14 listed violations, 13 were deemed serious, a designation reserved for those violations creating a substantial likelihood of death or serious bodily injury. The violations were all deemed to be those the employer either knew about or about which the employer should reasonably have known. The 14th violation was an electrical hazard violation which was not deemed to be a serious violation. In all, 20 workers have suffered multiple or single finger amputations or crushed fingers in the past two years at the facility while working.

People who are seriously injured while at work are able to file workers' compensation claims in order to recover the losses associated with their workplace injuries. Benefits may be available to pay for medical expenses, ongoing treatment costs, needed prosthetics and other medical devices as well as partial or total disability payments. Workers' compensation coverage is a type of insurance that employers are mandated to carry for worker protection. If an injured worker's claim is denied, he or she may want to seek the help of a workers' compensation attorney.

Source: EHS Today, "Forget the Two Front Teeth: All Employees at Olympia Chimney Supply Want for Christmas Are Their Fingers", December 22, 2014

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