When a worker in Pennsylvania is killed on the job, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is often quick to investigate the scene of the accident and the company that employed the worker. In some cases, investigators might find safety violations, some of which might be considered serious.
For grieving family members, this might be bittersweet. While companies must be held accountable for the health and welfare of workers, knowing that an accident might have been preventable might make a terrible situation even worse. However, it is somewhat comforting to learn when a company is being punished as a result of a worker fatality, particularly if it might lead to the prevention of future fatalities.
The Indiana County company responsible for a job site where a construction worker died last year is now facing fines over more than a dozen alleged safety violations. A worker and a foreman were inspecting a tank on a large tanker truck back in October. The foreman activated the hydraulic controls on the rear door of the tank; the 45-year-old worker was caught between the door and the truck's frame. After being taken to a Pittsburgh hospital, the man died several days later from his injuries.
According to OSHA, 17 violations were found; nine of them are considered to be serious. Many of those serious violations are related to making sure employees are kept safe when working with dangerous equipment. The company might have to pay nearly $24,000 in fines if it does not appeal the citations from OSHA.
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Indiana County paving contractor could be fined in fatal accident," Paul Peirce, April 22, 2014