The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently fined TimkenSteel Corporation for the second time within the same year. The incidents that sparked OSHA investigations both occurred in a state near Illinois, and at least one resulted in serious worker injuries. An OSHA official has expressed his surprise that the worker managed to survive the accident, which likely means that it will be some time before he is able to return to work. As such, workers’ compensation benefits may play a crucial role in his recovery.
The accident originally occurred in May 2015, although OSHA’s investigate report was not finalized until Oct. 2015. The report revealed that the employee had been carrying out his work duties on the floor of the factory when the safety latch on a crane failed. The critical failure of the safety latch released equipment that weighed about 1,000 pounds, which fell onto the worker below. While he did survive, it was not without serious repercussions to his physical health.
Aside from the faulty security latch, OSHA investigators discovered a number of other safety violations, some of which the company had already been cited for and ordered to fix in the past. Workers at both TimkenSteel factories involved were noted to be at risk because of damaged equipment, improper locking devices and lack of guards on live machinery, as well as improper electrical equipment. Workers were also at risk for falls because proper guardrails and safety equipment were not in place. In addition to the serious risks faced by factory workers, TimkenSteel apparently under-reported job site accidents. While the company claims that it has been an industry leader for preventing time loss due to accidents, it has been issued more than 75 violations in the past five years alone.
According to OSHA, the company was willfully negligent by failing to provide necessary safety precautions, and it has 15 days to bring its factories up to standard and into compliance. It might be difficult for some Illinois workers to imagine such careless handling of serious safety risks, especially in work environments that can be inherently dangerous on their own. Of course, nothing can ever truly undo the physical and emotional harm suffered during the course of a workplace accident, but workers’ compensation can be a valuable tool for victims to utilize during their recovery process.
Source: cleveland.com, “TimkenSteel worker injured in crane accident, factory fined for 2nd time in a year: OSHA“, Marcia Pledger, Nov. 4, 2015
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