OSHA Could Fine Me How Much?

Written by on 3/30/2016 3:17 AM in , . It has 0 Comments.

Are OSHA violations lending to high workman’s comp insurance payouts at your business? Bending or overlooking OSHA safety guidelines could cost you in more ways than one, not only increasing the likelihood of employee injury and workman’s comp insurance issues, but increasing OSHA fines as well.

Think you’ll get a slap on the wrist?
Skating by with OSHA violations recently cost one Nebraska company - Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services - big. The biggest fine in Nebraska history, to be precise. What precipitated the enormous penalty? Failure to heed air quality issues that indicated heightened risk of explosion.

The ultimate price
Rather than continuously monitoring the air for explosive hazards, as was warranted by OSHA guidelines, the company sent two employees into a railcar for cleaning. Both men were subsequently killed in an explosion, a third injured.

Not an isolated event
The company has had 5 whistleblower complaints since 2013, 2 are under investigation. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, stated this was not the first time this employer has endangered the lives of employees. Investigation by OSHA also recently uncovered at least 7 egregious and willful, three willful, two repeated, and 20 serious health and safety violations, including:

  • Failure to monitor air quality.
  • Not fit-testing employees required to wear respirators.
  • No hazardous materials training or waste programs.
  • Electrical safety and fall hazards.
  • No safety training for workers operating industrial vehicles.

Curtailing future violations
To ensure the company doesn’t continue these practices, fines of $963,000 were levied against the business, which has 15 days to comply. In the meantime Nebraska Railcar has been placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. This is far from the first time OSHA has imposed stiff fines on violators.

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