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Ohio company cited by OSHA for dangerous job conditions

Work place accidents attributable to an employer's wrongful conduct are egregious, in Columbus and throughout Ohio. Since 1970, the federal agency known as the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) has passed rules and regulations governing employer conduct to ensure the safety and health of all employees and provide an environment to reduce work place injuries.

While OSHA provides for criminal consequences in some instances, it generally requires a willful violation by an employer that caused the death of an employee. Barely a handful of criminal convictions have been secured by OSHA in its history.

Nevertheless, OSHA frequently imposes fines when its standards have been violated, and the amount of the fine is geared to the seriousness of the violation. Recently, an Ohio company was fined by OSHA for three separate violations stemming from a February inspection.

One finding was for a willful violation, defined as an act "committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety or health." The violation resulted in a $55,000 fine for ordering employees to sweep and clean in areas where lead was used and processed. The company was also cited for overexposing employees to lead.

A third violation concerned the company's failure to test and mark the capacity of a lifting device. This was termed a "serious violation", meaning that death or serious injury could result and the employer knew or should have known that the danger existed. The employer claimed that the violations, which were the result of the company's growing pains, have been corrected.

When an employee is seriously injured in a workplace accident attributable to the employer's wrongful conduct, many victims want to know if they can sue the employer or must only accept workers' compensation. That answer may depend on the extent of the employer's wrongful conduct.

In Columbus, an attorney experienced in helping those that have suffered workplace accidents may provide answers and help select appropriate remedies against negligent or reckless parties.

Source: The News-Messenger, "Crown Battery cited for violations," Mark Tower, Aug 17, 2011

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