Why is OSHA Investigating Honda?
In this past year, Honda’s profits have risen significantly. As of this first fiscal quarter of the year, Honda has seen a 20 percent increase in net profit, averaging out to about $1.5 billion of sales in North America and Asia. Part of the reason this profit increase has been possible is due to Honda’s effort to increase revenue by decreasing production and labor costs throughout its globalized auto industry.
Recently, Honda has resorted to hiring contractors, rather than full-time company employees. This allows the company to let go of workers when convenient and avoid paying for health care insurance or retirement. This high level of turnover and reduced compensation leads to an increase in the number of workplace accidents and injuries these contract workers sustain.
Ohioan Fatally Injured at Honda Plant
A contract worker died January 4, 2016, only five minutes into his shift at the Honda R&D Americas plant in Raymond, Ohio. The 61-year-old was crossing a causeway after just clocking in when he was hit by a forklift driven by another contract worker. The forklift was reported to be carrying a trash bucket which may have hindered the driver’s visibility. Unlike most Honda facilities, this causeway did not have surveillance cameras, so there is no recording of the incident. The 61-year-old contract worker was driven to Memorial Hospital at Marysville and passed away.
The county coroner’s office, County detectives, and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration are all conducting separate investigations into the accident. However, neither these investigative parties nor Honda is releasing any information regarding their investigations at this time.
Companies Like Honda Put Contract Workers at Risk
Research from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows contract workers make up 17 percent of all deaths that occur due to workplace injuries. A total of 28 percent of contract worker deaths occur in the machine manufacturing industry, such as the auto plants Honda operates. Within the first two weeks of this new year, two additional contract workers have sustained injuries in other states, both of which were approximately the age of 55. Research from the Bureau also shows the average age for contract workers fatalities is 55.
Honda’s increase in turnover rates, in addition to low pay, forces workers without pension plans to push back their retirement and put themselves at risk for workplace injury and death. Hopefully, investigations following the tragic Ohio accident incites some changes to be made at the plant.
Our local workers comp attorneys are dedicated to assisting injured workers in Ohio.