Training Failures can Lead to Workplace Fatalities
January 2, 2019
Despite paying the maximum fine for safety violations that resulted in the death of a 23-year-old employee, a Springfield, New Hampshire-based biomass plant is still up and running. Although the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) oversees and regulates workplace safety and health, the organization still estimates that 5,000 hardworking men and women die from job-related illnesses and injuries every year.
Fatal Safety Violations
According to OSHA’s news release, adequate job training and proper equipment safeguarding could have prevented the 23-year-old’s death. While on shift in late 2017, the man was pulled into an unguarded conveyer belt, where he tragically suffered fatal injuries. During its subsequent investigation into the incident, OSHA determined that numerous safety failures contributed to the deadly event. Here are some examples of the citations that OSHA issued to the employer:
- Failure to safeguard equipment (e.g. install lockout-tagout systems that ensure machines fully power off during service and/or maintenance);
- Failure to provide lockout-tagout procedural training to employees;
- The absence of emergency evacuation, hazardous energy, and fire prevention programs, and:
- The presence of fall, arc flash, and electric shock hazards in the workplace (e.g. ungrounded wiring, wet floors, unsecured objects, etc.)
OSHA’s Data on Workplace Illnesses, Injuries, and Deaths
OSHA estimates that 3 million workers become ill, are injured, or die in work-related accidents every year. And the truth is that the majority of the incidents are preventable – so long as employers care about keeping their employees safe and ensure that they are in compliance with OSHA’s life-saving worker health and safety guidelines.
Despite the fact that most workplace illnesses, injuries, and deaths are avoidable, they still happen far too frequently. According to OSHA, some of the following safety violations are the most common culprits behind catastrophic workplace incidents:
- Fall protection violations;
- Respiratory protection violations;
- Scaffolding violations;
- Electrical wiring method violations;
- Hazard communication violations;
- Ladder violations, and:
- Lockout-tagout procedure violations
What Should You do if You Were Injured at Work?
When a person is injured at work because his or her employer failed to meet safety standards or because they were exposed to known hazards, it may be time to consider filing a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation claims can help provide an injured individual with peace of mind during a stressful time, and can also relieve some of the financial burden that accompanies lost time from work.
Additionally, if you’re injured at work, you might have a claim against someone other than your employer. For example, if you were hurt on a machine that lacked proper safeguards, you may have a claim against the manufacturer of the machine.
Allentown Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Galfand Berger, LLP Represent Individuals Hurt at Work
If you were injured at work, please contact our Allentown Workers’ Compensation lawyers at Galfand Berger. With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Lancaster, and Reading we serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.