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Should Repeat Offenders Face More Serious Consequences?

Workplace safety should be a top priority for all employers. Employees should be able to report to work and perform their jobs duties without undue risk to their health. Considering the number of safety rules and regulations in place and monitored by agencies such as OSHA, compliance would seem to be an relatively easy task. Unfortunately that is not always the case, with many employers either unaware or unconcerned with the need to comply with the law.

Ignorance of the law does not absolve an employer from the consequences of breaking the law. Organizations who put their workers health and safety at risk due to a lack of understanding must still deal with the consequences of failing to provide a safe working environment. That being said, shouldn’t employers who repeatedly make the same mistakes, or those who fail to correct problems once identified, face more severe consequences? After all, it is one thing to not know any better….and quite another to outright ignore the rules.

Employers are advised to not only know the rules and regulations in place regarding workplace safety but also to understand the consequences if these rules are not followed. It turns out that repeat offenders or those of fail to take corrective actions will in fact face more serious consequences than those who make an effort to abide by the rules. This becomes clear in a recent case involving a pizza shell manufacturer in Rochester, New York. In this instance, the company originally faced fines of $12,000 for a variety of hazards discovered during a 2009 inspection from OSHA. The company was recently hit with $195,200 in proposed fines following another inspection in which new hazards were identified in addition to old hazards which the company failed to address.

Employers are urged to take all necessary action to ensure their workers are not at risk. Failure to do so will result in hefty fines with more to follow if corrective measures are not taken.