Much has been said about an employer’s obligations to create a safe working environment for their employees. This means a working environment free from serious hazards, and one that follows the standards are rules created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA requires that employees find and correct safety and health problems. This is done by making changes to the working conditions, such as switching to safer chemicals, rather than simply relying on personal protective gear to reduce the risk of injuries or illnesses.
This also means that employers must inform OSHA within eight hours of a workplace fatality. When this happens, OSHA can conduct an inspection of the workplace through highly trained compliance officers. Employers are not informed of when the inspection will occur and where. When the inspection is completed, the OSHA inspector will meet the employer and point out the violations, issue a citation and notify the employer of the proposed penalty. This is perhaps what happened following a workplace accident in Massachusetts where five people died.
Federal workplace safety regulators claimed a vehicle being driven by an employee on the auction floor careened into the crowd at an auto auction last year. That auto auction company has not only agreed to pay $200,000 in penalties, but also that it will add additional safety measures. These measures will include the erection of barriers in the auto auction area. Additionally, the agency that supplies temporary workers to the auto auction company will pay more than $100,000 in penalties as well.
People deserve to be safe in their work environments and OSHA strives to ensure that. Where an employer has not met the required standards and an employee is injured, it might also be possible to pursue a workers’ compensation claim. This claim would make it possible to cover medical expenses associated with the incident while also being able to recover wages lost due to the incident.