A 42-year-old man performing maintenance work on a machine at a plant owned by Apache Mills, Inc. was injured when his hand was punctured and “injected with fluid from a leaking hydraulic line” according to an OSHA News Release. The injury required treatment in the form of a surgical shunt to drain the man’s left hand of the fluid and to reduce swelling. The company was cited by OSHA as a result of the injury and subsequently discovered violations.
Culture of Safety
According to the News Release, the injury at issue here was merely one foreseeable outcome of a deficient overall approach to safety. As the following official statement indicates, OSHA frowns upon the creation of avoidable risk, regardless of whether that risk is actualized:
“An employee had his hand punctured needlessly at Apache Mills, so its management must ensure an improved culture of safety,” said Christi Griffin, director of the OSHA Atlanta-West Area Office. “Exposing employees to hazards puts them at risk of serious physical harm or death.”
The additional citations included the following violations:
- Inadequate worker training on safe electrical practices;
- Exposing workers to electric shock and arc flash;
- Not providing personal protective equipment to safeguard workers from electric arc or flash burns;
- Failing to load test lifting devices;
- Not ensuring proper guarding of machinery, such as rotating shafts, conveyor belts and rollers; and
- Exposing workers to falls from conveyors.
OSHA Safety Violations and Workers’ Compensation Law
An unjustified risk does not have to ripen into an actual harm in order to merit an OSHA citation. OSHA safety regulations require companies to take active steps to create a safer working environment. The focus of OSHA regulation is on prevention of injuries before they happen, not providing a remedy after the fact. Workers’ compensation, on the other hand, is designed to provide a remedy when someone is actually injured. With that in mind, in order to receive workers’ compensation payments, it is not necessary to prove that the employer violated an OSHA safety regulation. In fact, it is not even necessary to prove that the employer was at fault. So long as an employee is injured on the job and it was not caused by their own intentional act or by their own intoxication, they are generally eligible for some workers’ compensation benefits.
Contact a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today
If you have been injured on the job, contact the dedicated Atlanta workers’ compensation attorneys at the Bader Law Firm, LLC today. We fight hard to protect injured workers if their employers try to oppose their claim or minimize the extent of their injury. Do not be pushed around or intimidated into giving up on your claim. You are owed compensation, and we will strive to make sure that you get it.