Workers have a right to consult with an attorney when serious injuries occur because of the negligence or carelessness of their employer. Unfortunately the reality is that some workplaces and management disregards their employees’ safety and health by failing to maintain equipment, conduct safety training, or monitor workplace safety. A recent indent in Sunnyvale, Texas shows how work conditions could cause physical harm or even death. OSHA’s Dallas Area Office is proposing penalties of $318,000 against American Marazzi Tile Inc. because they had 25 safety and health violations and other dangerous conditions at their facility.
American Marazzi Tile has an estimated 254 employees in its ceramic wall and floor tile manufacturing facility. The tile company is part of OSHA’s Site-Specific Targeting Program because it has an increased injury and illness rate when compared to other workplaces. It is also now in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, so it will have to pass follow-up inspections to be compliant with workplace laws.
“This company knowingly failed to implement necessary safety and health programs to protect employees from coming into contact with moving parts of machinery and prevent hearing loss,” said OSHA’s Dallas regional administrator John Hermanson. “It’s the employer’s responsibility to know the hazards and safeguard workers from these hazards in order to provide a working environment free of injuries and illnesses.”
The main violations involved machine guarding hazards, excessive noise levels, and protecting workers when machinery is unexpectedly turned on. Personal protective equipment was inadequate, safety training was not given and continuing education not in place, and energy control procedures were not mandated. Proper storage of hazardous chemicals and other substances were not followed and a bloodborne pathogen program was not instituted.
OSHA statistical data shows that the manufacturing industry has the third highest number of cases involving injuries and illnesses. The average time away from work to heal from an incident was eight days. Only the health care and social assistance and retail trade industries suffered more injuries and illnesses.
Workers who suffer an injury on the job should speak with a personal injury attorney to seek compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. A skilled attorney knows what it takes to prove liability and establish a value for the damages incurred. Most personal injury lawyers will take a case on a contingency fee basis. In other words, they only get paid if they obtain a settlement or verdict on your behalf. Typically, attorneys offer a free initial consultation to discuss injury cases.