Hazard wasn’t fixed in time

by on April 26, 2011 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

You know that in busy production environments, equipment breaks down. When that happens, ensure that workers know to communicate those failures to supervisors promptly so they can take appropriate action.

In a recent case, a retaining plate fell off a tilting assembly table. Someone removed the retaining plate and put it aside. No one reported it.

Within a week, a worker tilted the table, and a 700-pound bucket undergoing assembly tumbled off – and onto a worker’s legs.

Workers must report conditions
He sued to recover damages above and beyond workers compensation, saying the company knew someone was certain to get hurt.

The court found there was no evidence the company was “on notice” – in other words, that it knew about the hazardous condition. Case dismissed.

You’d probably agree the court’s reasoning makes sense. But though the company beat the rap, the worker still suffered a needless injury.

Bottom line: Even the most eagle-eyed supervisor can’t spot every equipment failure. Make sure every worker knows he or she is responsible for reporting unsafe conditions immediately.

Cite: Seals v. GMC, No. 07-4415, 6th Cir.

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