The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has cited the Packaging Corporation of America for two repeat violations of workplace safety standards following an inspection of the company’s Chelmsford, MA manufacturing plant. The company is now facing up to $66,000 in potential fines.
OSHA spokesperson Jeffrey Erskine stated that, “While no injuries occurred, the potential for serious injury was evident.” Specifically, OSHA inspectors found that plant workers were exposed to crushing, struck-by and caught-in machinery hazards while setting up a press. Inspectors also found that operating procedures-shutting down and locking machines’ power sources-were not followed, and workers were at a high risk for being caught in operating conveyer belts on the same machine that lacked protective guarding.
Similar violations had been found in the company’s Opelika, AL location, therefore OSHA cited the company for a repeat violation.
OSHA’s hazardous energy control standard requires machines to be powered off and their power sources suspended before conducting maintenance services to avoid injury and fatalities should the machine once again become powered on. The machine-guarding standard requires that machine-operating parts be guarded to protect caught-in hazards.
Packing Corporation of America, which is based in Illinois, had 15 business days from the receipt of its citations and proposed penalty to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the OSHA Review Commission.
While luckily there were not any worker injuries in this case, this situation demonstrates a lack of oversight on behalf of the Packaging Corporation of America to keep its workers safe. According to OSHA standards, employers have a legal responsibility to ensure that a safe workplace is provided to all of their employees.
A worker who was injured as the result of an employer’s failure to ensure a safe workplace may be entitled not only to filing a workers’ compensation claim, but also a claim against his or her employer. At the law offices of Altman & Altman, LLP our team of experienced workers’ compensation have the knowledge to help those who have been injured in the workplace, navigate their way through filing a workers’ compensation claim. If you or a loved one was injured while at work, do not hesitate to give us a call. Upon initial consultation, we will determine whether you qualify for a claim and determine the appropriate course of actions. All initial consultations are completely free of charge, and our team of attorneys is available around the clock to answer any questions you might have about your case.