Worker complaint leads to $72K fine

by on August 5, 2014 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Workplace Safety Network

OSHA investigates safety complaints usually only after they notify the company of the complaint and give the company an opportunity to fix it. To get to the point where OSHA opens an investigation, it usually means the company ignored the complaint several times – probably from the supervisory level, then up a management level, and finally the company didn’t respond in a timely fashion to OSHA.

We can’t say for sure that’s the case here, but that’s the normal pattern — which is why it’s crucial to address safety complaints at the supervisory level. Complaints/notifications of safety hazards offer companies the opportunity to enter into a safety dialogue with workers. It’s an opportunity for the company to learn more about the actual working conditions, and for the worker to learn more about safety.

In a recent case, McCleskey Mills, Rochelle, GA, faces $72,000 in fines for 28 safety and health violations. The investigation was initiated in response to a complaint, and when OSHA showed up, it did a wall-to-wall inspection. Violations included:

  • exposing workers to fall hazards due to missing railings on platforms, stairs and ladders
  • failing to protect workers from moving parts of machines during repairs and servicing, and
  • blocking an exit by installing a piece of sheet metal in front of a door.

Plus, the employer allegedly failed to provide workers with personal protective equipment or have an emergency eyewash station or shower located adjacent to work areas that required them.

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