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Numerous OSHA Violations Highlight the Importance of Workplace Safety in Massachusetts

The United States Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has reportedly issued more than $1.76 million in fines to a furniture store chain. According to OSHA, over 1,000 furniture company workers were injured at a single facility during a period of less than four years. About 100 of those injuries involved a machine that was operated without proper safety guards. Sadly, at least one worker lost three digits due to preventable safety hazards. In addition, the company was previously cited for a similar 2014 partial finger amputation accident.

Following the second finger amputation injury, OSHA conducted an inspection of the furniture company’s manufacturing facility. As a result, the business received 12 willful, 12 repeated, and 14 serious safety violations. A willful violation is one that was committed with voluntary disregard or plain indifference towards worker safety and health. In addition, repeated violations occur when an employer is issued an OSHA citation for the same or similar regulation violation within a five-year period. A serious violation is one that an employer knew or should have known about that is likely to cause severe harm or death.

Due to the safety violations that were recently uncovered by OSHA inspectors, the furniture business was placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. This program concentrates on examining employers who have showed indifference towards complying with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Despite company safety manuals, the furniture business allegedly blamed victims for their harm and promoted unsafe working conditions in an effort to increase profits. According to the U.S. Secretary of Labor, the furniture company, which has annual revenues of $3.85 billion, has mistakenly placed earnings above employee safety. He added that successful companies can afford to provide employees with a safe working environment.

The OSHA violations were allegedly issued after the furniture business failed to take the steps required to ensure company machinery does not start unexpectedly while performing maintenance. In addition, the business apparently did not provide many workers with the safeguards necessary to protect them from moving parts. The serious violations that were received by the furniture company included failure to appropriately train workers regarding safety hazards and machine maintenance, electrical violations, failure to install sufficient drenching facilities for employees who were exposed to corrosive materials, and a lack of an accessible emergency stop buttons on some machines.

No one should risk serious injury or death by simply earning a living. If you were hurt or a loved one was killed in a Boston workplace accident, you need an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney on your side to help you recover the benefits you may be entitled to. The seasoned lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. are committed to helping you achieve the financial compensation you deserve based on the severity of your work-related injuries. To learn more about your rights, contact Kantrovitz & Associates, P.C. through our website or give us a call today at 800-367-0871.

Additional Resources:

Ashley Furniture faces $1.76M in fines after OSHA finds more than 1,000 worker injuries at Wisconsin site in past 36 months, OSHA News Release dated February 2, 2015

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