I was reading the Feb 15, 2012 OSHA QuickTakes and was struck by the listing of large penalties:
$365,500 to Wal-Mart’s Rochester NY facility for repeat and serious safety and health hazards. Some of the hazards identified were: fall hazards, obstructed exit routes, an absence of lockout/tagout procedures for energy sources that would allow workers to safely perform maintenance on a compactor, an unguarded grinder, no training for workers using personal protective equipment, a lack of eye and face protection, and a lack of information and training on hazardous chemicals in the workplace.
$169,00 against Penney Construction in Hartford Conn for repeatedly exposing workers to cave-in hazards. After being warned that they had to protect a trench from cave-in, they still sent employees into an unprotected trench!
$78,000 proposed against Beasley Forest Products in Georgia. Hazards found included failing to develop specific lockout/tagout procedures for the energy sources of equipment, properly use compressed air for cleaning, install guardrails on walkways to prevent workers from falling 5-18 feet, provide standard handrails on stairways, provide signage prohibiting unauthorized foot or vehicle traffic where logs were being loaded and unloaded, provide machine guards, repair a damaged ladder, allow access to the circuit breaker box, and install covers on electrical boxes for the sorter control cab and the sorter system.
It’s not just about the money. Why risk an employee’s life? QuickTakes had articles on two teenagers who suffered amputations (once gone, you don’t get it back) and two fatalities at the Indiana State Fair in 2011. At what price?