Cox Enterprises, Inc., parent company of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, was cited by OSHA in August for one repeated and five serious safety violations. According to the agency, Atlanta’s paper of record subjected workers to risks including amputations, entanglement in unguarded machinery, unexpected machine startups, and electrical shock. The citation was issued after a March 12 inspection. This is the second citation issued to the newspaper in just 5 years. The company is required to pay a fine of $65,550.
Printing Press Dangers
Printing presses, like other heavy machinery, present a variety of hazards due to their many moving parts. These hazards include injuries due to accidental contact with machinery such as crushed or severed body parts. For this reason, machines must be equipped with guards whenever it is feasible to do so. Another common hazard is the risk of unexpected startup during routine maintenance, which can result in serious or fatal injury. The best method for preventing these risks is known as the lockout/tagout procedure (LOTO). This procedure, when followed correctly, should make it impossible for the machine to start up during maintenance, ensuring that neither stored energy release nor employee oversight results in a machine unexpectedly moving. The citations issued to the Atlanta Journal Constitution primarily consisted of failure to provide guards and to follow LOTO procedures. But there were also risks of electrocution created by exposing workers to live electrical wiring.
Safety Regulations and Workers’ Compensation: Legal and Economic Considerations
Workplace injuries create an economic problem for all of society by reducing labor force productivity and by burdening the medical system. Often, workers are not in a position to bear these costs by themselves. Economically speaking, employers and their insurers are the most efficient cost bearer for these risks, because the only other apparent alternative would be for the government to directly bear the costs.
OSHA’s workplace safety regulations are targeted at reducing the social costs of workplace injuries by requiring employers to proactively promote a safe work environment. OSHA and state level regulatory agencies have promulgated rules requiring employers to take affirmative steps to eliminate the risks and costs associated with these injuries. The rationale of these regulations (which are sometimes costly to implement) is that ultimately employers and employees alike benefit through costs saved by reduced injuries.
On the other side of the coin are workers’ compensation laws that require employers to carry insurance that will compensate workers. In general, the law requires compensation to be paid without reference to fault, as this makes for efficient transactions and reduces time and expenses involved in personal injury litigation. The law recognizes that not all workplace injuries can be avoided, and when a person is injured, someone has to pay. State legislatures have made a policy determination that workers should generally be compensated even if they are partially to blame for their injury. The costs associated with the loss of worker productivity and the burden placed on the medical system as a result of workplace injuries must be borne by someone. So a legislative compromise has been struck between business and labor interests guaranteeing compensation for workplace injuries (with some limitations and narrow exceptions).
Contact an Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
If you are injured on the job, you are owed compensation. But some cases present challenging facts that may make it difficult to recover the money that you deserve. When employers decide, for one reason or another, to shirk their legal responsibility to pay, they need to be held to account. The Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at the the Bader Scott Injury Lawyers can guide you through the process if your case presents complexities, and ensure you get the compensation you deserve.