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Workers’ compensation: OSHA issues fines for workers’ injury

Employers are responsible for protecting their workers; it is as simple as that. However, some employers in New Jersey seem to take this as more of a suggestion than a legal expectation. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) recently fined a company after one of its workers was seriously injured — one who likely needed help from workers’ compensation.

The worksite accident happened back in Aug. 2019. The victim — a crane operator for an aluminum manufacturer — was seriously hurt by a steel plate that fell from a crane. He was taken to the hospital and then admitted for further treatment. His employer was supposed to report his injury and hospitalization to OSHA within a period of 24 hours, but it missed that timeframe. It is not clear when the company actually reported the accident.

OSHA issued four citations against the company, one of which was for failing to report the employee’s hospitalization on time. The aluminum manufacturer was also cited for not conducting annual inspections of its cranes and for not securing and balancing the crane’s load. The company is expected to pay nearly $170,000 in penalties and was placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

While it is good that OSHA exists to identify violations that cause workplace accidents, it often seems as if this only happens after victims are already hurt. This means that workers’ compensation benefits have to play a supporting role in these victims’ recoveries. Otherwise, some people in New Jersey might feel forced to return to work before they are ready, risking further injury and compromising financial security.