An average of 13 Americans are killed on the job every single day of the year. In addition, tens of thousands die every year from workplace disease and nearly 4 million workers each year are seriously injured on the job. OSHA’s top 10 offenders in 2013 include five Ohio companies (in red.) The failure of companies to adhere to safe work practices puts workers at risk – in some cases fatally.
- Republic Steel (Canton, OH) – $1.14 million This steel mill is no stranger to OSHA violations. Despite numerous citations related to fall hazards in the past, workers still face dangerous conditions. The company was issued citations for 15 willful violations and 8 serious violations.
Republic Steel has a long history of OSHA violations and disregard for employee safety and health. It is unacceptable that Republic Steel has not taken more effective steps to improve safety. – DAVID MICHAELS, OSHA ADMINISTRATOR
- Ball Aerosol and Specialty Container (Hubbard, OH) – $589, 000 Responding to a complaint, OSHA discovered the company was still allowing workers to operate dangerous slitter machines without guards in place – despite previous citations on the same equipment. The company was issued numerous citations, including six willful, egregious violations for continuing to expose machine operators to serious amputation hazards.
- Dover Chemical (Dover, OH) – $545,000 The paraffin and additive manufacturer has been cited for 47 health and safety violations after an unexpected release of hazardous materials led to the temporary shutdown of the company’s plant and an adjacent highway.
- Vordonia Contracting and Supplies Corp./Alma Realty Corp., Masonry Services Inc. and North Eastern Precast LLC (Valley Stream, NY) – $465,410 These contractors were issued two willful violation citations for allowing employees and crane operators to work in close proximity to power lines, and one serious violation for failure to mark power lines with warning signs.
- Panthera Painting Inc. (Slatington, Harrisburg and Slatedale, PA) – $459,844 OSHA issued citations for 14 willful violations and 11 serious violations that included failure to protect workers from lead exposure and failure to provide fall protection.
- Highway Technologies Inc. (Menomonie, WI) – $448,000 A worker died after his equipment came into contact with overhead power lines. The company received citations for 6 willful violations and 4 serious violations for failing to protect its workers from serious electrocution hazards.
- Mahle Engine Components USA (McConnelsville, OH) – $369,000 Six safety repeat violations were issued for failure to mount and identify fire extinguishers, train workers on recognizing electrical hazards and ground pins from electrical equipment. Two health repeat violations were issued related to lead exposure. Additionally, 18 serious violations were issued for lack of machine guarding, improper storage of acetylene and oxygen cylinders, electrical hazards, and struck-by hazards, among others.
- Twin Pines Construction Inc. (Plymouth and Reading, MA) – $336,200 A worker suffered serious injuries after wooden roof truss collapsed. Citations for four willful, two repeat and four serious violations were issued for hazards including trusses not adequately braced during installation, fall hazards, impalement and “struck-bys.”
Falls remain the No. 1 killer in construction work. Employers who deliberately and repeatedly fail to supply and ensure the use of effective fall protection safeguards are repeatedly gambling with their workers’ lives.” – MARTHE KENT, OSHA REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR IN NEW ENGLAND
- Environmental Enterprises Inc. (Cincinnati, OH) – $325,710 One worker was killed and another seriously burned in a fire at the waste treatment facility. Citations for four willful violations, serious safety violations, and seven serious health violations were issued for improper hazardous waste handling procedures, inadequate employee training, and improper storage of flammable liquids and lack of a hazard communication program, among others.
- Hagel Metal Fabrication Inc. (East Peoria, IL) – $317,000 A worker was fatally crushed by an automated laser-cutting machine. Citations for four willful violations and eight serious violations were issued for improper machine safeguards, unguarded flooring and platforms, failure to inspect powered industrial trucks, and a lack of training, among others.
Workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards. In Ohio, claims for workplace injuries are usually filed with the Bureau of Worker’s Compensation. However, in some cases, an employee may also file an additional claim in civil court. Such cases, known as Employer Intentional Torts, are very complex and require a skilled employment law attorney.
Source: “OSHA’s Top 10: Present and past” by Kyle W. Morrison, Safety & Health, November 25, 2013
Note: This list of OSHA’s top monetary penalties in fiscal year 2013 is comprised of penalties stemming from a single incident or related incidents in which one or more companies allegedly failed to adhere to safe work practices. These fines represent proposed penalties issued by OSHA between Oct. 1, 2012, and Sept. 30, 2013; dollar amounts may be reduced as part of a settlement agreement or litigation.