As a small or midsize business owner, ensuring compliance with employment laws and maintaining a safe work environment is paramount. Recent incidents serve as sobering reminders of the potential penalties businesses face for disregarding employee safety.
A case involving an Ohio manufacturer, Quality Castings Company, highlights the severe consequences of neglecting safety protections and violating Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.
This article aims to raise awareness among small and midsize business owners about the penalties for breaking employment laws and the importance of prioritizing workplace safety. Asure’s HR experts help business owners comply with federal, state, and local employment laws. Learn how to protect your business here.
The Incident and OSHA Investigation
In February 2023, a mold machine operator at Quality Castings Company in Orrville suffered a traumatic right thumb amputation while operating a machine lacking adequate safety protections. Shockingly, the company had already experienced a near-miss incident on the same machine eight months prior, indicating a lack of corrective action. When federal investigators responded to the incident, they discovered that the company had not implemented the necessary safety measures despite prior knowledge of the potential risks.
OSHA Findings and Penalties Imposed
Upon investigation, OSHA found that Quality Castings Company failed to lockout the core mold machine’s operating parts during service and maintenance. This lack of protection led to the operator’s hand getting caught in the rotating mold while adjusting the machine’s flame. Additionally, the company had not properly guarded the machine and had failed to provide workers with adequate safety training, both of which are required by OSHA regulations. As a result, OSHA issued one willful violation and one serious safety violation against the company. The proposed penalties amount to $171,884, a significant financial burden for any small or midsize business.
The Importance of Safety Procedures and Compliance
The incident at Quality Castings Company highlights the critical role of safety procedures and compliance with OSHA regulations. Employers have a responsibility to protect their workers from potential hazards, and neglecting safety measures can lead to severe injuries or even fatalities. Implementing and regularly reviewing safety protocols, conducting risk assessments, and providing comprehensive training are vital to mitigating workplace accidents and ensuring employee well-being.
Revisiting Procedures and Preventing Injuries
Following the near-miss incident eight months earlier, it was essential for Quality Castings Company to re-evaluate and strengthen their operating and safety procedures for the core mold machine. By taking prompt action and implementing necessary improvements, the company could have prevented the devastating injury suffered by the mold machine operator. Proactive measures and a commitment to employee safety are essential for any business.
Compliance with OSHA Standards
To avoid penalties and protect their workforce, small and midsize business owners must familiarize themselves with OSHA regulations and standards. OSHA’s machine guarding and control of hazardous energy webpages offer valuable information on safeguarding employees from machine-related hazards. It is crucial to establish a culture of safety, providing ongoing training, conducting regular inspections, and promptly addressing any identified risks or deficiencies.
Understanding the penalties for breaking employment laws and neglecting workplace safety is vital for small and midsize business owners. The case of Quality Castings Company serves as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the repercussions of disregarding safety protections and violating OSHA regulations. By prioritizing workplace safety, implementing robust safety procedures, and complying with relevant employment laws, business owners can safeguard their employees, avoid financial penalties, and foster a culture of well-being and productivity.
Asure’s HR experts help business owners comply with federal, state, and local employment laws. Learn how to protect your business here.