Texas Company Loses Worker to Heat Exhaustion
Accidents in a workplace, especially those where a death has occurred, should always be investigated, and that is the job of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. However, as unfortunate as workplace accidents are, they are not always caused by employer negligence, and employers have a right to defend themselves without bias just because an accident has occurred.
Once such fatal accident that occurred recently has the company ready to defend themselves against the resulting OSHA violations they were cited with. BFI Waste Services of Texas, who does business under two different company names - Republic Services, Inc. and Recana Solutions - was cited and charged with seven safety violations after an investigation from the OSHA.
The OSHA investigation came after a fatal accident where a worker died from heat exhaustion in June. Republic Services was cited for failure to protect workers from hazardous heat-stress and failure to provide adequate first aid training. Because this was a "serious" violation that could result in death or serious injury, the fine was $14,000.
The director of the agency's South Houston office stated that they were aware that the extreme heat was a matter of life and death, and that both their workers and the employers are proactive when it comes to staying safe in the extreme heat.
An additional $6,000 fine was charged against the Republic Inc., for failing to report the temporary worker's death to the OSHA within eight hours. Recana Solutions was also cited for not protecting workers from the hazards of extreme heat. Total fines for both companies was $33,000, according to OSHA officials.
Republic Services released a statement stating that the accusations against them are inaccurate and their intent is to contest the citations.
Source: chron.com, "OSHA fines two businesses after worker's heat-related death" Mike Glenn, Sep. 16, 2013