The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is a federal agency created in 1971 to prevent workers from being injured on the job including in construction accidents, falls from heights and other mishaps. Every year, for example, cave-ins cause Chicago work-related deaths and injuries.
In Wauconda, Illinois, OSHA agents recently inspected a company worksite in connection with a tip about a potentially deadly hazard. Reportedly, a federal inspector had driven past the worksite on March 20 and noticed that workers were exposed to a cave-in hazard. Acting on the tip, the federal agency performed an inspection and cited the local company. The company had neither provided cave-in protection for workers in a seven-foot deep trench nor given them a safe entrance and exit to and from the excavation.
The company received two safety violations and a $73,000 fine. OSHA noted that the company had received previous citations in August 2010 and July 2011, also because of cave-in hazards.
The mission of OSHA is to provide a safe and healthy workplace for all workers across the United States. The agency sets standards and policies regarding workplace safety, which employers and company owners are required to follow. Failure to do so may result in safety violations or, worse, put workers’ lives in danger. In the event of an injury or death, the employer may be hold accountable.
Workers who are injured on the job because of unsafe hazards may expect compensation to lighten the burden of medical expenses, lost wages and emotional distress. In worst-case scenarios, when an accident results in a fatality, the immediate family of the victim may be compensated for loss of companionship, financial support and funeral expenses. Any such compensation may be recovered by means of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “OSHA: Wauconda company exposed workers to cave-ins,” April 22, 2013