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OSHA Cracks Down on Dangerous Work Conditions Before Accidents Happen

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is busy enforcing its workplace safety regulations in Georgia and throughout the Southeastern region.

In July the agency cited a Georgia agricultural equipment manufacturer for potentially deadly hazards, including the risk of amputation, fall hazards, risks of machinery starting up during maintenance, and failure to provide protective equipment to welders.  The citation noted 21 separate violations (11 of them serious), and carried a fine of over $40,000.

In the same month a Georgia metal fabrication company was cited for willful safety violations in exposing workers to deadly fall hazards up to 30 feet.  That citation carried a fine of over $50,000.  The company knew the safety requirements and had the resources to implement them, but management simply chose not to take the required precautionary measures.

In August an Atlanta air filter manufacturer was cited for a second time in six months for continuing to expose its workers to amputation hazards.  The company, American Air Filter Co. Inc., is now in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program and has been fined nearly $120,000 for its most recent violation.

The Common Theme: Prevention

Each of these citations has one thing in common: no serious accidents were reported in any of the cases.  However, this does not mean that the violations were insignificant or that the citations served no purpose.  These citations reflect a proactive approach to preventing workplace injuries.  This policy serves as the front end of workplace safety management, while workers’ compensation serves as the back end.  Both regimes create incentives to take active steps to prevent workplace accidents, even to the extent of holding employers responsible to protect workers from their own mistakes.

Workers’ compensation performs this function by ensuring that an injured worker is compensated even if they are injured as a result of their own negligence.  OSHA compliance performs this function by fining employers that allow their employees to fail to follow safety procedures.  In each case, the message is clear: the law demands that employers provide a safe workplace, and that means taking as many preventative steps as are necessary to minimize accidents—even those caused by negligent employees.

Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Can Help You

If you are injured in the workplace, you have a right to workers’ compensation payments.  Even if you technically caused the accident by some mistake or neglect, the law is clear that your employer is liable because of a government policy that demands employers take affirmative steps to prevent accidents.  While workers do make mistakes, these sometimes are a product of poor training, poor supervision, and a work culture that does not take safety procedures very seriously.  So don’t allow guilt over a mistake to stop you from filing your claim.  Call the attorneys at the Bader Law Firm.  We will assess your case and make sure you get the compensation you need until you are able to get back to work.

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Seth Bader

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