Amsted Rail Company Inc. in Ohio has been added to the Severe Violator Enforcement Program of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This follows two investigations — the first one in January and the second one in February of this year. In total, investigators identified 30 safety violations during these inspections.
The first incident involved the crushing of a maintenance worker’s leg that became caught in a machine lacking a lockout/tag out device. Such a device would have prevented moving parts from activation while the 60-year-old employee cleaned the machine. During the second investigation, inspectors found four instances in which workers suffered overexposure to silica.
A summary of the safety violations for which OSHA proposed fines of more than $610,000, includes the failure to ensure the implementation of engineering controls that would lower silica exposure levels, the lack of lockout/tag out devices and inadequate machine guarding. Furthermore, the company failed to implement a program to provide respiratory protection and evaluate confined spaces. Shafts and floor openings were unguarded, and workers lacked personal protective equipment.
Employees at companies that show such a lack of concern for workplace safety and commit so many safety violations are extremely vulnerable. Fortunately, the Ohio workers’ compensation insurance system provides benefits to cover medical expenses of injured workers. Also, lost income due to hospitalization or rehabilitation and recuperation may be compensated. Wage replacement is typically based on a percentage of the average weekly wage of the injured worker. Injured employees are free to seek the guidance of experienced workers’ comp attorney to navigate benefits claims for them.
Source: oshatoday.com, “OSHA finds machine safety hazards, silica overexposure at Ohio steel plant“, June 28, 2017