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Workers remain exposed to workplace injuries after OSHA citations

A high percentage of workplace injuries nationwide, including in California, are caused by reckless disregard for federal safety regulations by company owners. After a Sept. 2014 inspection at a business in another state, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently carried out a follow-up inspection in an effort to prevent workplace injuries. This was done because the company failed to submit proof of corrections for previously cited safety hazards.

In conclusion, OSHA determined that the workers at this granite countertop manufacturer remain exposed to multiple safety hazards. The areas that remained unaddressed included the failure to protect workers from high noise levels and the failure to create a monitoring program to determine hearing loss. Also, a chemical hazard communication program had not been established, and hazards related to forklift booms were still present. In addition, electrical equipment continued to be operated unsafely in wet locations.

Furthermore, multiple new hazards were identified. These included lack of protection of workers' eyes, heads and hands, unsafe storage facilities for the large granite pieces used in the factory, and numerous electrical hazards. Also, OSHA found that forklift operators lacked training, saw blades were not guarded, and the emergency exit route was blocked by flammable materials. These formed part of the 29 citations that were issued after the latest inspection.

Such disregard for worker safety by company owners is inexcusable and causes continuous stress to employees. Most California workers have dependents that rely on their ability to provide incomes, and, if safety is willfully compromised, the welfare of families is jeopardized. Fortunately, some level of financial assistance is available through the workers' compensation insurance system. Benefits typically cover medical expenses and lost wages for those who have suffered workplace injuries.

Source: workerscompensation.com, "MA Granite Countertop Manufacturer Exposes Employees to New and Recurring Safety Hazards After Failing to Correct Violations", Nov. 6, 2015

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