A company who has been a habitual offender in violating Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules and policies was once again cited and fined for nine new federal violations. Many Colorado employees would assume that if an employer was fined and cited by OSHA because of dangerous practices that it would remedy the threat for the future. Sometimes, however, companies become willful violators of OSHA regulations, which can quickly lead to serious or fatal work-related accidents.
The company faces fines of $119,000 after an employee died in an on-the-job accident. The employee died after he was crushed between a barge and transfer car last August. While the worker's death spurred the OSHA investigation, investigators discovered at least one willful violation across the whole company. The area director of OSHA said that the company "has a responsibility to ensure that its employees are properly protected from known workplace hazards."
The 54-year-old man who was the most recent worker to die while working for the company was just one of three employees killed in the past two years. The others, a 44-year-old and 50-year-old, perished after falling considerable distances while working in May 2010. Due to all of the company's violations, OSHA has inspected the company five times since 2010.
The OSHA official said its regulations are in place in order to protect company workers from the hazards in and around the workplace. He said that companies such as this demonstrate that they do not care about its employees' health and well-being by refusing to follow OSHA policies.
The newest violations bring the company's total violations to 46 since 2010.
Although this accident happened outside of Colorado, when a Denver employee is injured or killed in such an accident he or she or his or her surviving family members can file for workers' compensation or death benefits. There is no excuse for an intentional OSHA violation and accidents resulting from them are often covered by workman's comp.
Source: WDRB.com, "Jeffboat cited for nine federal violations in workers' death," March 1, 2012