Employers must provide a safe workplace for employees

Safety in the workplace is a serious issue. Companies that violate the law face penalties and/or lawsuits.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is deadly serious about safety in the workplace. And despite what companies may think, they do inspect and keep track of whether or not there is compliance after an inspection. In this case, not only was there no compliance, the issues kept getting worse.

This is a Texas case involving Worldwide Oilfield Division, Inc. in Houston. It was slapped with a number of penalties for eight violations (new ones), four repeat violations and one safety violation after an October 2012 inspection. OSHA inspectors discovered workers were routinely exposed to unguarded machinery, electrical hazards and other issues at the Worldwide Oilfield Division location on Cunningham Road.

The inspection cited the facility for allowing workers to run dangerous, improperly protected equipment, putting them at high risk for amputations and other serious injuries. On re-inspection, the issues had not been fixed, resulting in a higher fine of $71,200.

Conditions noted at the facility included failing to provide the proper safety guards for a variety of machines that ran the gamut from vertical and horizontal turret lathes to band saws, and failing to ensure all panels, electrical cords and boxes were securely anchored to avoid the possibility of electrocution.

In penalizing the company, OSHA noted that it is the employer’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace for all workers. Providing a safe workplace includes ensuring the equipment they work with is not dangerous and has the proper guard equipment in place to prevent serious accidents.

Aside from the fact this company is in direct violation of OSHA rules, they are potentially exposing themselves to a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. In the eyes of the law, if an individual is badly injured or killed while on the job, and the cause of the accident was negligence on the part of the employer, the workers have a right to worker’s compensation benefits or to sue for compensation to cover items such as medical expenses, lost wages, and medications. In this instance, the employer is negligent in not providing a secure workplace and in not addressing safety issues, even when told to do so.

If you have been in a situation like this, discuss your case with an Austin injury attorney. If you want to know what is involved in an injury case or wrongful death lawsuit, an Austin injury attorney can provide you with the answers, allowing you to make informed choices about your situation.

Perlmutter & Schuelke, LLP maintains offices in Austin, Texas. However, our attorneys and lawyers represent clients throughout the state of Texas, including Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Forth Worth, El Paso, New Braunfels, San Marcos, Kyle, Buda, Round Rock, Georgetown, Lockhart, Bastrop, Elgin, Manor, Brenham, Cedar Park, Burnet, Marble Falls, Temple and Killeen. By Brooks Schuelke

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