The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration plays an essential role in ensuring the safety of workplaces throughout the country. From requiring that workers wear ear plugs to mandating the use of safety harnesses on scaffolding, OSHA regulations help prevent serious workplace injuries. Too often, however, employers cut corners and violate OSHA safety rules. These violations can lead to serious injuries.
Recently, OSHA compliance officers executed a warrant to search American Bar Products, Inc., a steel manufacturing plant located in Bucks County. According to the warrant, officers had probable cause to believe that there were violations at the facility, but it is currently unclear what those violations are.
It is not the first time that American Bar Products, previously called Phoenix CFB, Inc., has been investigated for violations by OSHA. In 2011, an OSHA investigation found multiple serious violations at the plant. In order for a violation to be considered serious by OSHA, it must be one where serious injury or death could result and the employer knew or should have known about it. The serious violations at the American Bar Products plant included:
OSHA initially fined the company $13,000 for the violations, but that amount was reduced to $8,400 in an informal settlement.
Although the investigation of the plant is ongoing, American Bar Products owner William Marsh has said that he expects to pay a substantial fine. In his view, his plant is a dangerous place to work. His employees, however, know the risks and always take proper safety precautions.
Critics of OSHA have said that the agency’s rules are too hard a burden for small businesses to bear. The costs of compliance, along with fines, are simply too high. The reality is, however, that oversight is necessary, even in situations where employers believe their employees recognize the risks associated with their jobs. In many situations, there is a very real possibility of serious, debilitating injury or even death. OSHA regulations may appear onerous, but they are often the only thing protecting workers from serious injury.
If you have suffered an injury in the workplace due to an OSHA violation, speak to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand your rights and can help you to receive the compensation for your injuries you deserve.
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