The Colorado workers’ comp program is designed to help employees who are injured on the job get the money they need to cover medical bills and make up for lost wages. The funds help Denver-area residents recover from serious workplace injuries so that they can get back to their jobs. The workers’ compensation program, however, is a response to an incident in an unsafe workplace; the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration serves to ensure that work areas are safe to begin with.
Meat and food processing plants can be found throughout Colorado. Though they may contain a few more risks than working at an office in downtown Denver, they are expected to be just as safe. After a quail-meat processing plant was inspected by OSHA, it was fined over $92,000 for 23 health and safety violations.
The processing plant had four serious health violations, meaning that there were four violations that posed a substantial risk of death or serious harm to employees. Moreover, the employer either knew or should have known of the hazards and their potential for serious harm. Two of the health risks were related to excessive sound and failing to protect employees’ hearing. One of the other health violations had to do with an extremely dirty and unsanitary bathroom.
Of the $92,115 in fines, $69,715 came from 16 serious safety violations. Many of the hazards that plagued the meat processing plant had to do with injury to workers. There were risks of electrocution and being struck by objects throughout the plant. The employers also failed to provide protective equipment for certain areas of the plant.
Though this plant was outside of Colorado, working conditions such as these could easily be found within the state. While employers are expected to provide safe, clean environments for their employees, these less-than acceptable conditions often cause serious workplace injuries.
Source: OSHA Regional News Release, “US Labor Department’s OSHA cites Quail International for 23 violations at Greensboro, Ga., plant; purposed fines total more than $92,000,” July 16, 2012