On April 28th, 2014, the US Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced they resolved a case against an employer, Republic Steel with locations in New York and Ohio. The case involved over 100 safety and health violations found by OSHA after an inspection. The initial inspection occurred in 2013 after an employee suffered a serious injury when he fell through the roof of a building.
Pursuant to the settlement, the company agreed to pay $2.4 Million in fines as well as agreeing to implement numerous safeguards to prevent further injuries and correct all cited hazards. Some of the hazards found by OSHA were willful and serious violations for failure to provide required fall protection to employees, failure to implement lockout / tag out procedures to protect workers who service or maintain machines and failure to provide machine guarding to protect workers from hazardous machinery. Republic Steel has also agreed to additional measures in an effort to protect workers from injuries by hiring safety and health staff, conducting internal safety inspections and implementing a safety management program.
US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez stated “by agreeing to the terms of the settlement, Republic Steel has demonstrated a commitment to change its culture, invest in its employees, and work with OSHA and the United Steelworkers to make significant changes at its facilities that will improve the safety and health of its workers”.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers are responsible to provide safe workplaces for their employees and OSHA tries to ensure work conditions for employees are safe and free of dangerous conditions to avoid work injuries. If you or a family member sustained a work injury and the injury could have been prevented by safety measures, it is important you discuss the case with an experienced workers compensation attorney such as Michael O. Smith at the Mass Injury Group.