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Workers' rights: Unguarded band saw causes loss of fingertip

Federal safety regulations mandate that workers in industrial workplaces nationwide, including here in Colorado, must be protected against the dangers of working machine parts. Workers' rights include the right to safe workplace environments, and employers who fail to comply with safety regulations may face substantial fines. The owner of a grocery store in another state recently received a $45,000 penalty for disregarding safety regulations.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires all equipment to be fitted with devices that isolate energy during maintenance or repairs. Also, safety guards must be installed to prevent contact between workers and the working parts of equipment. These safety features were not in place when a 65-year-old grocery store employee lost the tip of his left middle finger while he was butchering meat with a band saw.

OSHA also requires business owners to train all employees in the proper use of these safety devices, and how to avoid such injuries. An OSHA spokesman said these were common-sense safety procedures that can prevent accidents in which workers come into contact with moving parts of machines. While this man only lost a fingertip, such accidents can be deadly.

Colorado employees who have suffered on-the-job injuries may pursue financial relief for medical expenses and lost wages. All employers must carry workers' compensation insurance to protect workers' rights, and injured workers may file benefits claims with the insurance program. In addition to coverage of medical expenses and lost income, additional benefits may be awarded when workplace accidents lead to temporary or permanent disabilities.

Source: wlwt.com, "OSHA cites Green Twp. Kroger after man loses fingertip butchering meat", March 23, 2016

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Eley Law Firm
2000 S. Colorado Blvd. No. 2-740
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