The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is usually known for intervening after workers have already been injured, but the agency also takes tremendous steps to get involved before such injuries can occur. Fines issued by OSHA are often done in an attempt to prevent accidents on the job from ever occurring. Alongside the fines, offending Illinois employers must also address the violations in order to protect their employees.
OSHA recently slammed an out-of-state auto business with $51,000 worth of fines for violations found by investigators back in Dec. 2015. The investigation was initially prompted by a complaint concerning possible hazardous conditions. It is not clear whether the complaint — which specifically targeted the operations surrounding spray-painting — came from an employee or elsewhere.
In total, nine non-serious and 31 serious violations were found. Some of the more serious violations were cited as failing to train employees to handle chemical hazards, combustible waste stored in inappropriate containers and allowing employees to use toxic compounds in sprays with known risks to cause cancer. Combustible residue was also found to have accumulated on various surfaces, and there were no visible signs that cautioned against smoking around flammable products.
With a total of 40 serious and non-serious violations, the fact that no accidents on the job had occurred might be more surprising than the thousands of dollars in fines that the business must pay. The business has a total of 15 business days to either fix the violations in order to protect its 1,600 employees or to formally contest the claims. When OSHA is unable to intervene before a devastating accident occurs, most Illinois victims rely on workers’ compensation benefits for financial support during the recovery process.
Source: fox43.com, “OSHA: Workers not protected from toxic compounds, other safety and health hazards at Manheim facility“, Paul Smith, June 7, 2016