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OSHA violation results in $7,000 fine plus additional citations

After complaints about working conditions at a printing and promotions company in another state, OSHA initiated an investigation of the premises. Although this case refers to another state, the same violations can occur in any jurisdiction, including California. As a result of its investigation, the federal agency proposed the maximum fine for one OSHA violation and other fines for additional violations.

The amount of $7,000 -- the maximum fine -- has been assessed for a violation of excessive heat in the work area. The agency also determined that additional violations threatened the health and safety of workers. For these additional violations, the company could possibly be fined an additional $11,200.

OSHA says that the printing and promotions company failed to ensure that exit routes are kept unobstructed and free. Flammable liquids were not stored properly, and hazardous chemicals were not labeled. The company also failed to provide suitable protection for the eyes of workers who wear prescription lenses. Workers were not supplied with information and effective training, and flexible cords were not used properly.

Furthermore the company failed to develop a written communication program for hazardous situations. It failed to provide data sheets for material safety of every hazardous chemical that was used in the place of work. The company was given 15 days to reach compliance, submit a request for a meeting with an OSHA director, or to contest the citations.

Employers in California have to stay current with health and safety regulations for their own benefit and the welfare of their workers. Failure to do so could risk the imposition of an OSHA violation. Moreover, workers could be hurt on-the-job. When that occurs, those employees (and their families in the event of a fatal workplace accident) have legal rights. Workers' compensation insurance benefits typically apply in these circumstances, offering accident victims and/or their families important coverage for healthcare expenses, lost income from work and -- when applicable -- funeral and burial expenses for a fallen worker.

Source: njbiz.com, Lakewood printer faces thousands of dollars in fines for OSHA violations, Joe Ross, Nov. 27, 2013

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