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Workplace safety inspection leads to heavy fines for violations

Those who are employed in the industrial field face many hazards due to the nature of the job. However, the majority of employers exercise due diligence in an effort to ensure workplace safety. Unfortunately, there are some work environments that pose a greater danger to the well-being of employees. There are likely many Missouri employees who have suffered a work-related illness or injury through no fault of their own.

Recently, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted a safety inspection of a paperboard mill after receiving a complaint about possible hazards. The resulting inspection ended in the company, Carthage Speciality Paperboard, being assessed more than $357,000 in violations for penalties. OSHA inspectors reported finding approximately 61 violations related to improper safety equipment on machinery, inadequate gear and protections, and inadequate training for some personnel.

An estimated 20 of the violations were due to machinery lacking required safety guards in order to prevent an amputation injury. Other citations were issued for machines that were not equipped with a safety switch to prevent starting while undergoing routine maintenance. Inspectors also discovered that employees were lacking proper safety training and the required personal gear when working on electrical equipment carrying more than 2,300 volts. Other violations included lack of regular inspections for overhead equipment such as cranes and missing safety rails for elevated metal walkways.

Lastly, inspectors stated that employees were exposed to potentially toxic air quality when sent into confined spaces without prior testing and that workers lacked appropriate evacuation procedures in the event of toxic fume exposure. Company officials stated that they intend to formally dispute the findings. The majority of companies make every effort to ensure workplace safety; however, accidents can happen without warning. Missouri workers who are injured on the job are assured ot the right to file a workers' compensation claim, and many choose to obtain the assistance of an attorney in order to facilitate the fair and timely handling of those claims.

Source: ehstoday.com, "OSHA Fines Carthage Specialty Paperboard for Machine Safety Hazards", Stefanie Valentic, Aug. 18, 2017

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