You’ve built your business from the ground up. You’re good at what you do, have a stable of loyal customers, and you’re proud of the progress you’ve made. Your employees trust that you’ll provide them with a safe environment and a company they can grow and prosper with, and you feel confident that you can deliver on that trust. Not all companies are the same way, however. This is why it’s so important for an organization like OSHA to exist. They inspect records, the work environment, and equipment looking for health and safety hazards employees are potentially exposed to.
The following Region 6 companies weren’t prepared for an OSHA inspection and were cited during Q4 of 2018:
UST Systems │ Fined $35,844
The Houston-based company exposed workers to trench safety violations resulting in 4 citations: 3 serious and 1 willful. Violations were related to excavation hazards and cited:
USPS │ Fined $242,585
The Austin-based facility failed to comply with Powered Industrial Truck (PIT) (aka forklifts) operating standards and exposed workers to trip/fall and electrical hazards, resulting in 7 citations: 2 serious, 4 repeat, and 1 other-than-serious. Violations cited:
Venture Metals LLC │ Fined $311,580
The Dallas-based company incurred an OSHA inspection after an employee was crushed by a stack of pipes and hospitalized. The inspection resulted in 31 citations: 18 serious, 9 repeat, and 4 other-than-serious. Violations cited:
Companies have a legal obligation to follow safety rules. In addition, many people take it a step further and believe companies have a moral obligation to follow safety rules as well. This is so their workers and employees are protected from accidents waiting to happen. It’s not only morally smart, but also financially imperative. Case in point: The maximum fine for a single violation can cost a company around $13,000.
Repeat and willful violations result in larger fines. For example, UST’s willful violation resulted in about a $25,000 fine, and USPS’s multiple repeat violations cost the company $50,000 each. Additionally, employers who expose employees to repeat and willful evaluations run the risks of lower employee morale, higher employee turnover, increased costs of training new employees, losses of productivity, and bad press when OSHA steps in and cites the employer.
Bottom line: Following proper health and safety standards will maintain employee morale and avoid any possible violations which have a negative financial impact. It’s great to be prepared by reviewing your policies and making sure the workplace is in compliance with these said policies.
Check out OSHA’s Region 6 News Releases for up-to-date information on violations within the region.
The OSH Act of 1970 places responsibility on the employer to provide a safe and healthful workplace for employees.
Companies are permitted 15 business days from the receipt of citations and proposed penalties to comply with the citations’ directives, to request an informal conference with OSHA’s Area Director, or to contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission.
Do you have questions or concerns about your OSHA compliance? Contact one of our safety professionals below for a free consultation.