>The US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recently cited a saw mill in Vance, AL $121,400 in connection with an inspection resulting from a fatality at the plant. According to the Alabama HR Law Blog, the company was cited for 1 willful violation and several serious violations. The article didn’t detail any inspection history at the plant but said the employer had been made aware of the hazard that killed the worker and that other
workers had pointed it out without the company taking any action. There were also a lack of rails and guards that should have restricted employees from entering the hazardous area.
This is not to be taken lightly. While a willful violation is usually written when there had been previous OSHA activity at the plant and the facility failed to take action on prior citations, there is nothing in the law that requires it. A willful violation may be written anytime there is a blatant disregard for worker safety and where management knew or should have known about the hazard. Recent court activity has held that certain safety audits can be subpoenaed in connection with OSHA inspections. This means that if a serious hazard exists and has been pointed out to management OSHA can potentially write a willful citation.
It has been several years since we’ve seen OSHA at a gin but all it takes is a moment of inattention and that could change in an instant.
Please take the time when Barry or your insurance inspector are at your facility to go over your plant with a fine tooth comb. Find as many hazards as you can and TAKE CORRECTIVE ACTION. FIX THE PROBLEMS. The work you do will not only help prevent an injury directly, but it shows your employees that you care about their safety. No matter what you do, some accidents will happen but the action you take now can make the difference between a minor and a major injury. It can also make the difference between no fine and a HUGE penalty.