According to the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970, employers are required to create safe working environments for their employees.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) was created to enforce these rules. It maintains two separate yet vital roles, providing inspectors to assess and improve workplace practices, and punishing companies who violate these standards.
In this article, we will talk about a company and its run-ins with OSHA.
A paper manufacturer in Scranton has accrued fines of $303,657 after an OSHA inspection revealed abysmal and absolutely unsafe working conditions.
These include violations in
- Lockout-Tagout procedures
- Falling/tripping/slipping hazards
- Exposing employees to electrical hazards
As of this writing, the company still has time to appeal the fine, as well as appear before the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission to contest their findings or comply. Neither action has been announced as of yet.
This is the first large fine imposed since OSHA announced an increase in fines effective as of January 24th, 2019. Penalties for all infractions are expected to be modified for inflation every year moving forward.
So, Why does this still happen?
Whether it’s $12,000 or $50,000 or $300,000, there’s plenty of incentive for employers to make absolutely sure that their company is compliant. When these fines are large enough to make headlines, not only does it affect that company’s bottom line, it definitely keeps them from being an employer of choice for potential hires.
This is the nightmare scenario firms like ConnectedHR exist to prevent. You probably wouldn’t have heard about an OSHA violating paper company in Mississippi without reading this, but think of all the press you’ve seen about sexual harassment, discrimination, and other workplace misconduct just over the last year.
The fines and settlements imposed on companies for these actions are very frequently higher than $300,000. So, if that number made you whistle, think about a settlement that costs your company half a million dollars.
Professional HR services pay for themselves.
Yet, companies still violate OSHA, Americans with Disabilities Act, and all sorts of discrimination laws. Do employers believe they won’t get caught? Or do they legitimately not know what they’re doing is wrong? Either way, they only have themselves to blame. With the resources available to today’s small businesses, you can absolutely ensure that your company is safe.
If you don’t know how to do something, ask someone who does. Give us a shout and we’d love to answer your questions.