The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues repeat violations to companies who fail to correct workplace hazards, even after a previous citation. Repeat violations carry higher fines and stiffer penalties, because these companies would rather put their employees at risk repeatedly than comply with OSHA regulations.
When OSHA cites a facility, it expects the hazards it identifies to be addressed at all locations owned by the parent company. If inspectors find similar hazards at another facility, the company can still receive a repeat violation.
OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) is for employers who repeatedly endanger their employees after a fatality or other catastrophe, or those who commit particularly egregious violations. All employers in the SVEP must submit to follow-up procedures with OSHA, including enhanced inspections at the offending site and all other related work sites nationwide.
Companies assigned to the SVEP must also agree to certain settlement provisions if they fail to address workplace hazards. If OSHA deems it necessary, it can require offending companies to:
- hire a safety and health consultant
- submit logs detailing all work-related illnesses and injury to OSHA
- provide a list of all current and future job sites for OSHA inspection
In February 2014, OSHA investigated Interlate Mecalux, a Melrose Park plant that manufactures storage and racking systems. The facility was cited for exposing workers to amputation hazards and failing to label hazardous chemicals properly. When OSHA inspected the company’s Pontiac plant in March, it issued repeat violations for several similar offenses.
Both facilities violated OSHA’s machine guarding procedures, which protect workers from moving parts in heavy machinery. Without proper guarding, workers risk amputation, laceration or crushing injuries.
Hazardous chemicals can be physically harmful to employees, causing irritation of the skin, eyes and respiratory system, exposing workers to carcinogens or other harmful side effects. If these items are not properly labeled, workers may not know they need protection and suffer harmful exposure.
Even after repeated warnings by OSHA and other agencies, some companies still refuse to prioritize their workers’ health. As an employee, make sure you know your rights, because ignorance could have catastrophic consequences.
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If you feel your rights as a worker are being violated, let Larrimer & Larrimer help you fight back. Our seasoned attorneys have experience going up against big businesses, and our knowledge could make all the difference in your case.
Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC
—Columbus Workers Comp Attorneys