Workplace Safety Violations Lead to Substantial Fine

Feb 10 2015 - Workplace Safety - Brad Sterling

Most employers know that workplace safety violations can lead to substantial fines. But one recent citation from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) caught national attention.

A large furniture manufacturer faces $1.7 million in fines after OSHA found that more than 1,000 workers were injured at a Wisconsin site over a three-and-a half year period. In one injury, an employee lost three fingers while operating a woodworking machine without required safety mechanisms in place.

OSHA investigators identified 12 willful and 12 repeated safety violations and found that the company did not take the necessary steps to protect workers from being injured by moving parts. OSHA also cited the company for 14 serious safety violations, including not training workers on safety procedures and hazards present when servicing machinery.

Employers must provide a safe workplace. In California, Cal/OSHA enforces workplace health and safety rules.

Penalties can quickly mount. For instance, in California, the penalty for serious violations is up to $25,000 for each violation, and the penalty is up to $15,000 for failing to correct or abate a violation for each day the failure continues.

Gail Cecchettini Whaley, CalChamber Employment Law Counsel/Content

CalChamber members should visit the HR Library’s extensive Workplace Safety section for detailed information about safety requirements and obligations. Not a member? Learn how HRCalifornia can help you.

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