Portland construction and manufacturing workers are often the most vulnerable members of the local workforce for catastrophic injuries. Many factory and construction site accidents result in a worker’s death, but disability benefits are available to those who survive these accidents and no longer able to work. Many of these applicants suffer from back and spine damage that prevents them from returning to work. Spinal injuries are serious and disability benefits can help those who suffer spinal damage and can no longer complete daily tasks.
Many workplace accidents are the result of employer negligence and unsafe work conditions. The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission recently upheld serious fines proposed by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Commission against a contractor that placed its workers in serious risk for spinal injuries and fatalities by maintaining an unsafe work environment.
OSHA inspectors found an employee working in a severely dangerous excavation pit. The pit was up to 9-feet deep and lacked cave-in protection. What is even worse is that there were piles of excavated materials hanging above the employee and water flooding the bottom of the pit. This worker would have been severely injured and may have had to rely on disability benefits for the rest of his life.
“This was an imminent danger situation that could have resulted in a fatality and should not have existed in the first place,” said an OSHA regional administrator. “This decision should remind employers that failing to supply basic, common sense and legally required safeguards will result in financial and legal consequences, just as employees face the consequences of death or disabling injuries when such safeguards are absent from their workplaces.”
The contractor was ordered to pay $137,200 in fines.
Source: OSHA, “US Department of Labor’s OSHA cites Canton Drop Forge in Ohio for safety violations after worker dies in machinery accident,” Oct. 27, 2011