Why Does this Ohio Manufacturing Plant have OSHA Concerned?
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) is fining Fuyao Glass America more than $200,000 for dozens of safety violations. Workers have previously complained about unsafe working conditions, which led OSHA to launch eight investigations over the last year. Those eight investigations amounted to $226,937 in penalties. Could complaints with OSHA have helped bring out these investigations?
According to OSHA, Fuyao Glass America had unguarded machinery, electrical hazards and unmarked exits in its work areas. In addition to these problems, OSHA’s investigation also determined the company had not provided workers with protective equipment or offered hazardous chemical training.
These dangers allegedly put workers at risk for succumbing to electrocution, exposure to chemicals and amputation hazards.
Workers at the company lodged complaints with OSHA’s Cincinnati office. By filing complaints, workers alerted OSHA to dangerous working conditions that may have led to fatal and nonfatal accidents.
How Do You File Complaints with OSHA?
Despite being illegal, it is not uncommon for employers to retaliate against employees for reporting unsafe work conditions. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 affords workers protections for reporting unsafe work environments. Workers can request inspections if they witness OSHA violations.
However, OSHA recommends workers file these complaints as soon as possible, as citations may only be issued for existing or recent violations.
Online: Workers can file anonymous complaints by filling out an online form. This form is forwarded to the appropriate representative for a response.
Mail or fax: Workers can file and mail written complaints to their local OSHA regional offices. Signed complaints submitted to local offices may be more likely to result in an investigation.
Phone call: Workers can discuss concerns with OSHA representatives. OSHA also operates an emergency hotline for immediate and life-threatening workplace violations (1-800-321-OSHA).
Injured workers or their families can also discuss legal options for compensation with a workers comp attorney.