Despite the responsibility of employers in California and across the country to provide safe workplace environments, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration regularly reports findings concerning companies that totally disregard worker safety. Sadly, employees are regularly exposed to workplace accidents. After a recent investigation, OSHA cited a business in another state for willfully ignoring its responsibility of employee safety in favor of increased production.
The OSHA investigation followed an incident in which a welder, age 19, lost part of her finger only nine days after she started working for the company. She was reportedly doing spot welding on a machine that was also used by another worker who lost part of a finger in a similar incident last year. The incident reportedly occurred because the welders have to hold small parts with their fingers while doing the spot welding, exposing their hands to the operating parts of the machines.
After the prior incident, the company apparently agreed to devise safer ways to control the cycling of the machine. It also committed to manufacturing fittings that can be used to hold the small parts in place without exposing the workers’ fingers and hands. However, during the recent investigation, OSHA determined that although the company had made some effort to make the changes, none had been completed.
Exposing workers to workplace accidents is unacceptable. Losing any body part, including part of a finger, can cause the inability to continue doing the same type of work and can have life-changing consequences for the victim. Fortunately, some level of financial relief is available through California workers’ compensation benefits. Medical expenses and lost wages are typically covered, along with vocational rehabilitation in appropriate circumstances.
Source: jsonline.com, “OSHA cites Kapco for safety violations“, Rick Barrett, Aug. 4, 2015