Dangers in the work force run the range from actual physical injuries to illnesses. Much of this depends on the type of work or industry and on how seriously an employer takes workplace safety. Many employees place their safety in the hands of their company or organization. And unfortunately, some employers continually undermine safety regulations all while putting employees at risk by exposing them to workplace illnesses and injuries.
Employees who are hurt or sickened at work or as a result of a work condition are usually covered by the state's workers' compensation system. This system benefits employers as well because employers don't need to worry as much about personal injury suits. But Ohio employers should not rely on workers' comp as an excuse for diminished workplace safety.
An Ohio company dealing in pallet manufacturing is currently facing large fines for discovered safety violation. The Occupation Safety and Health Administraion (OSHA) conducted an inspection earlier this year and found 20 safety violations. The inspection was part of the agency's program that targets workplaces that report high occurrences of illness or injured employees. The company has been inspected four times over the course of the last two years.
As of now, the company's fines total over $60,000. All of the violations are listed and described on OSHA's website. Some of the write-ups detail poor machine guarding, lack of fire extinguishers and lack of protection against falls.
The company, as all employers, has a responsibility to create and maintain a safe work environment. Although employees may be able to rely on workers' comp in the event of an injury, the goal should be to prevent injuries in the first place and negligence on the part of the employer can open them up to additional liability.
Source: OHS Online, "Ohio Company Fined $64,400 After OSHA Investigation," April 3, 2013