Sure, a $165,000 fine for safety and health violations is a fairly significant reprimand for failing to provide a safe working environment for your employees, but companies that receive these fines face a greater group of problems. Bad press, loss of production, recruitment, interviewing, and training costs are just a few serious consequences of on-the-job injuries. So you have to wonder, what would happen to these companies if OSHA failed to hold them accountable for these safety violations? The consequences could be significantly more severe.
The Trickle Effect
Take the case of Hartford, Connecticut’s Nuway Tobacco Co., who was recently fined nearly $60,000 for exposing workers to highly combustible dust and other hazards in their place of business. According to OSHA’s area director in Hartford, Warren Simpson, “A dust fire or explosion can be catastrophic and result in deaths, injuries and the destruction of entire buildings.” This would imply that the fallout from repeated violations could lead, not only to work stoppages, and potentially serious injury to staff, but also to significant damage to neighboring businesses. The responsibility is on Nuway to fix these violations before something more sever takes place.
Too Little Too Late
Sometimes companies wait until it’s too late to take action against workplace injury. Many companies tend to reserve significant incident prevention programs until after a major incident has occurred. A Ridgefield, NJ roofing contractor, currently suffering from a broken neck, is paying the price for his company’s failure to provide adequate fall protection. This amongst other violations has resulted in $57,000 in fines in addition to the workers’ compensation expenses, hr costs of finding a replacement worker, and a lack of production for one of their workers. If they had acted sooner and reinforced the usage of proper safety equipment, this incident could have been avoided.
Avoid the Fines with Prevention
These are just two examples of how a company can lose from violating safety rules. As you can see, the initial fine is just one part of the problem. There are many consequences of providing an unsafe working environment and each one costs the company profit. So the people in charge of safety in your organization need to be proactive in reducing or removing the dangers of working in an industrial setting and prevent disastrous incidents. Afterall, if you’re already getting a fine, it’s probably already to late!