OSHA fines repeat violator after machine accident leads to injury

Companies are expected to keep employees safe from workplace hazards. Lockout/tagout procedures, for example, protect employees from the unexpected startup of machines, and machine guarding can keep workers’ extremities from being caught or cut by machinery. Some companies fall afoul of OSHA by not incorporating these safety measures, and one such company in New Jersey has been fined three times now by the safety organization.

The Pennsauken branch of a nationwide fence company has been fined $370,298 in penalties for repeated violations of the federal standards relating to lockout/tagout, the installation of machine guards and the proper lighting of warehouses. It was during an April 2019 inspection that OSHA uncovered these violations. Inspectors also noted that a loading dock was obstructed and that the electrical disconnects for forklift truck chargers were blocked.

One workplace safety publication stated that it all began in 2015 when one of the workers at the company was injured in a machine accident, losing two fingers in the process. When OSHA returned to inspect the company in 2017, the organization discovered that the issue with the machine had not been fixed.

When employees suffer a workplace injury because of OSHA violations on the part of the employers, they can file for workers’ compensation benefits, which might include wage replacement and cover all medical expenses and any short- or long-term disability leave. When it’s not so clear that the employer was to blame, the employer may be able to deny the claim, which is why victims are encouraged to hire a lawyer.

A lawyer may work to ensure that victims receive all the benefits they are entitled to. If victims are already receiving benefits and have achieved maximum medical improvement, they may strive for a settlement. The lawyer may explain the details of Section 20 and 22 settlements.