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OSHA needed federal court order to do factory investigation

All business owners nationwide are legally bound to provide safe workplace environments. They must also provide the Occupational Safety and Health Administration access to these workplaces to carry out inspections. However, the safety agency had to resort to getting a federal court order to get access to a sheet metal manufacturer in El Dorado Springs, Missouri, and OSHA released the investigation results recently.

OSHA received complaints about dangerous work conditions and injuries suffered by employees, but the company refused the agency access. When the inspection took place, the inspectors identified more than 12 serious safety violations -- some of which were repeated. OSHA issued fines of more than $138,000.

When inspectors reviewed the company's injury logs, they found evidence of the numerous complaints they received about workers suffering cuts to their wrists and hands. OSHA ordered the company to address its safety protocols immediately. Safety violations included the lack of protective gear, exposure to unsafe handling of toxic chemicals, unguarded machines, failure to provide safety training and more.

The Missouri workers' compensation insurance system covers all employees in Missouri, regardless of the industry in which they work. Injured workers must report work-related injuries to supervisors as soon as possible and seek medical treatment. They need not wait for an investigation to take place before they can file benefits claims with the insurance program. The benefits should cover all doctors' and hospital bills along with lost income for those whose injuries caused absence from work. The insurance program typically bases the wage-replacement package on the average weekly wage of the injured worker.

Source: workerscompensation.com, "OSHA Cites Numerous Hazards at Missouri Sheet Metal Manufacturer After Court Order Issued For Inspection", Dec. 19, 2016

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