Businesses have an obligation to create a safe working environment for their employees. When a business fails to do so, it can be cited for these violations and fined. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the agency that oversees businesses' safe working practices and investigates workplace accidents, recently levied fines on a Philadelphia company that totaled over $75,000.
Philadelphia Macaroni, with a workforce of 37 employees was fined $75,483 for a combination of repeat and new violations after a July 2013 inspection. There were eight new violations and five repeat violations. The company was last cited in 2009.
The new violations resulted in $14,993 and are considered serious violations, meaning the business allowed practices that could lead to serious injuries to workers if not corrected, either knowingly or unknowingly. Some of the citations included the use of a damaged flexible cord and exposed live parts operating above 50 volts.
The repeat violations resulted in $60,490 in fines. A repeat violation occurs when the company has been cited previously for the same issue in any of its businesses within the last five years. Violations included the improper use of a ban saw guard, inadequate emergency eyewash stations, an opening in electrical boxes and the improper use of electrical equipment.
The company has 15 days from the receipt of the findings to either correct the issues, ask for a consultation with the area OSHA director or contest the results and proposed penalties with the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. However the company decides to proceed, for the workers it at least means that OSHA is aware of the violations. In the event that a worker is injured, seeking compensation for known issues can be an easier experience. But even for more difficult situations, anyone who is injured while simply doing their job is entitled to seek financial relief. Advice from an experienced legal professional can help injured workers determine what rights they have and the kind of compensation they could be entitled to receive.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, "Philadelphia Macaroni cited by US Labor Department's OSHA; fines total more than $75,000" 4 February 2015