Employers in all industries in Ohio must comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s safety standards. If workers suffer on-the-job injuries due to safety violations, heavy fines can follow. However, issuing penalties to business owners does not benefit the injured worker at all.
An example of such an incident occurred at an Ohio-based food manufacturer. A 39-year-old worker in the production plant lost part of her left arm. OSHA mandates that employers must have a lock-out/tag-out system in place and train employees on how to use it.
Equipment must be switched off and tagged as locked-out to prevent accidents while maintenance or cleaning occurs. If in place, this safety precaution will prevent accidental activation while workers are at risk of suffering catastrophic injuries.
The incident that caused the catastrophic injury
OSHA investigators reported that the worker’s left arm was caught while cleaning a running potato ricer auger. Along with multiple lacerations, her arm was partially amputated. In an attempt to free the injured worker, her co-workers had to cut the machine apart.
In this case, the workplace lacked the necessary injury prevention equipment. Furthermore, employers must inform workers of potential safety hazards they will encounter while doing their work. If this worker had known the risks, she might not have cleaned the auger while the machine was running.
OSHA proposed over $136,000 in penalties for the employer, and the incident left the worker with a permanent disability. She will likely be eligible to claim benefits through the Ohio workers’ compensation insurance program. It will cover her medical expenses and lost wages, and additional benefits are typically awarded to workers whose injuries cause permanent disabilities.