Each year workers fall victim to serious but preventable injuries while on the job. While human error leads to some accidents, sometimes the employer hasn’t done its due diligence in implementing and enforcing safety procedures and equipment. One recent example of this is at the Chicago location of B-Way Corp., a metal and plastic container manufacturer based in Atlanta.
There has been an amputation injury in the Chicago location for the third time since the summer of 2015. Sadly, federal safety investigators found that the accidents would have been preventable in each case if the company had complied with safety standards. It was determined that B-way had improperly installed safety guards on its machinery. It was also discovered that workers were not properly instructed on how to operate and maintain the machinery – in the most recent case on Sept. 10, 2016, a temporary worker lost a middle finger while trying to clear a jam.
OSHA cites safety violations
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) responded on Dec. 21 by issuing citations for a one repeating and one serous safety violation. The proposed fines amount to $81,062.
“BWay Corp. needs to review its machines’ operations corporate-wide immediately to ensure they have adequate and properly installed safety guards,” said Kathy Webb, OSHA’s area director in Calumet City. “They must also be sure that workers are using lockout/tag out procedures to prevent them from coming in contact with operating parts.”
The other injuries at B-way’s Chicago location occurred in August of 2015 when a woman lost a middle finger in a stacker plate on machine. Another employee suffered the loss of the tip of his right index finger while cleaning a chuck on another machine in October of 2015.
What can you do?
If you or a family member was injured or suffered an amputation while on the job, the company is obligated to file a workers’ compensation claim (unless you are an independent contractor) that will pay the worker’s wages during recovery as well as medical expenses. In the case of safety violations and injuries, an employee may be able to sue his or her employer for additional damages. It’s not always clear how an injured worker should proceed after seeking medical help. An attorney with experience in workplace injuries here in Pennsylvania can be a tremendous asset in determining if there is a case for additional compensation.