A wood distributor based in Georgia faces a $125,466 fine from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration following an inspection that revealed five total violations, as the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. With a variety of unacceptable safety risks threatening employees, OSHA didn't hesitate to issue a significant financial penalty. Although the issues were addressed and corrected during an April inspection, the business will have to carefully monitor the cited problems and similar ones going forward to avoid future complications with the federal health and safety regulator.
"The two repeat fines accounted for more than $100,000."
A distribution facility, in this case focused on wooden doors, windows and molding, may not sound like a particularly dangerous type of workplace at first. However, this kind of thinking about workplace safety can easily lead to situations where businesses face six-figure fines, reputation issues in the local community and other problems following an OSHA inspection or worker injury.
In the case of this facility, OSHA cited three serious violations. The first was tied to a lack of easily accessible stations for washing and/or flushing the eyes and body in areas where employees could be exposed to dangerous corrosive materials. The second violation involved a lack of proper marking for permanent aisles and passageways, potentially exposing workers to struck-by injuries from powered trucks and other concerns. The third violation focused on a lack of repair and maintenance for powered trucks used in the facility, which could lead to injuries for the operator as well as other employees working near the truck.
The company was also cited for two repeated violations: ensuring workers use appropriate eye and face protection when exposed to various potentially serious hazards, and a similar violation tied to hand protection. It's important to note that increased penalties can come with repeat violations. While there were three serious violations, the financial penalty associated with those incidents only accounted for approximately $21,000. The two repeat violations significantly increased the total fine for the business.
"An employer's obligation to provide a safe workplace includes supplying workers with personal protective equipment to protect them from identified hazards," said William Fulcher, OSHA Atlanta-East Area Director, in a press release from the agency. "Employers are required to correct hazards before they cause injury or illness."
This example of OSHA enforcement is a reminder that organizations must take EHS obligations seriously and have the appropriate plans and platforms in place for compliance, befor an incident occurs.
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