An Ohio company that uses conveyor systems was cited by OSHA after a worker died from traumatic injuries that occurred when he got caught up in the machine. A subsequent inspection by OSHA resulted in $63,000 in fines against the company. Of the many violations that were issued against the company, most were serious and a few were repeat violations.
The violations involved in the case are common issues all workers can face on the job. Failure to inspect machines, to issue personal protective equipment, to train workers properly about all procedures in safety, and to protect workers from moving parts and equipment are all things employees across the nation experience.
Violating OSHA regulations does not just get companies in trouble and incur high fines, they can also lead to the injury and death of workers. The worker who died was caught up in the conveyor belt and pinned there during a regular process. No safeguards were in place to keep the worker from getting caught in the first place. While it is not known if workers at this company were aware of the violations, many other employees in other jobs are fully aware.
When safety is a concern, employees have the right to protect themselves. Reporting violations to management should be a first step. If the situation is not resolved, the employee has the right to not perform the job that puts them at risk. Employers are not allowed to terminate or harass employees for making such observations or requests for improved safety features. There are some employers who would rather face the fines imposed by OSHA than spend the money to operate their business properly and safely, assuming their risk of getting caught is low.