Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cited Alpharetta's AP Specialty Metals for safety violations, including failure to install machine guards to prevent employees from being caught up in machinery. The reason, as you may have guessed, was that an employee was caught up in machinery earlier this year and crushed to death.
In response to this tragedy, OSHA investigated the company for safety violations and found 13 in all. The failure to install machine guards mentioned above was deemed "willful" (with intentional knowing and/or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements), the most egregious level of safety violation that can be found by OSHA. Of the remaining 12 violations, 10 were deemed "serious" (with substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result), and two others were deemed "other-than-serious" (directlyk related to job safety and health, but unlikely to cause death or serious physical harm).
Violations included: failure to implement an energy control program to protect workers from unexpected release of energy or start-up of machinery; presence of fall hazards; lack of training on use of industrial trucks; exposing workers to flying debris; exposing workers to unguarded chains and sprockets; misuse of compressed air for cleaning; use of damaged parts on electrical equipment; use of flexible cords as a substitute for fixed wiring; dispensing flammable liquid from an ungrounded drum; failure to post an annual summary of injuries and illnesses at the facility; and failure to keep OSHA logs for 2006 and 2007.
In all, the citations' penalties totaled $65,900. AP Specialty Metals was given 15 business days from receipt of the citations to either comply with the proposed penalties, request an informal conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
It is a shame that these violations were found only after an Alpharetta worker's wrongful death. But what is more of a shame is AP Specialty Metals' apparent bias toward productivity and profit over the safety and well-being of its employees. Despite steady technological breakthroughs, a company's greatest asset is still its employees, and every company should accordingly honor its employees' basic right to a safe and healthy workplace.
At the law offices of P. Charles Scholle, P.C., we are committed to defending the rights of employees who have been seriously injured or killed in Georgia work-related accidents. Decades of successful experience with work-related injury lawsuits mean that you can expect the best from our Gwinnett County wrongful death legal professionals. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, contact us online or call one of our offices in Duluth, Decatur, the Perimeter or Buckhead, and take your first step toward receiving the compensation you and your family deserve.