Employees in Texas and throughout the country deserve to be protected by their employers. We've written about several instances in which companies in Texas and elsewhere have received fines and citations after a worker is injured or killed on the job. While a company should certainly be held responsible for this, it would better if the safety violation had been caught before anyone was harmed. Fortunately, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration keeps an eye out of this as well.
In fact, OSHA announced yesterday that a roofing company in St. Louis was slapped with a dozen safety violations and more than $120,000 in fines for failing to protect its workers. Last year, an OSHA investigator noticed that workers who were doing construction on a commercial shopping site did not have fall arrest systems in place, and the workers that were wearing harnesses were not wearing them correctly.
In addition to a lack of fall protection, OSHA found the company in violation of several other safety rules. Employees who were working with nail guns did not have proper facial protection, and some workers were not even wearing hard hats. Because the company has continuously been found in violation of certain safety rules, OSHA has placed it in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program. Employers in this program can be inspected by OSHA any time the agency is concerned there may be a safety violation.
As this case shows, OSHA does its best to respond not just to reports of injuries, but also to problems that could lead to injuries down the road. As OSHA continues to assert its power to hold these companies accountable, hopefully other employers will take note and ensure that their work environments meet safety standards.
Source: United States Department of Labor, "US Department of Labor's OSHA cites roofing contractor KG Framing and Construction for lack of fall protection at St. Louis job site," April 18, 2013