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Workers' rights violations alleged by employees of cement company

Colorado workers may expect an international company that is a world leader in its field of industry to recognize the importance of a safe and healthy workforce. Sadly, this is often not the case, as became evident after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration received complaints of dangerous working conditions that allegedly violated workers' rights at a cement production facility. An inspection followed at one of the company's manufacturing facilities in another state.

The investigation was launched last November as part of OSHA's National Emphasis Programs related to silica hazards and amputations. Investigators found that the allegations were well-founded as many safety violations were identified. Workers were reportedly exposed to excessive noise without the company having a hearing conservation program in place. With regards to silica exposure, no respiratory protection was available and no medical evaluation programs were established.

Other hazards included unguarded rotating barrels and a lack of energy controls or lockout/tagout devices. Furthermore, workers operating powered industrial vehicles were untrained, and floors were dirty and wet, while fire extinguishers and cranes were not inspected as required. Penalties of $92,000 were proposed, and OSHA warned the company to keep workers safe by re-evaluating its health and safety programs.

Employees in Colorado who believe their workers' rights are violated may report the issues to authorities. Workplace injuries can adversely impact on the financial stability of a worker, especially if a prolonged absence from work is caused by hospitalization or a long period of recuperation. Fortunately, benefits claims may be filed with the state's workers' compensation insurance program for recovery of medical expenses and a percentage of lost wages.

Source: powderbulksolids.com, "Cement Company Faces $92K in OSHA Fines", May 6, 2016

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