Numerous previous postings on this blog have discussed OSHA inspections
that were initiated as a result of a workplace accident or a work-related
injury. However, there are others ways that an employer can become subject
to an OSHA inspection. A situation that recently arose in Pennsylvania
shows readers exactly how that can happen.
NEJ Abatement Group, which is based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is
facing almost $17,000 in fines issued by OSHA for six different violations
involving lead hazards. The investigation was initiated after the Pennsylvania
Department of Health reported some concerns about the company to OSHA.
OSHA had the authority to conduct an investigation under its National
Emphasis Program on Lead.
The inspection found that the company's employees were being exposed
to lead in amounts that were above the permissible limit. Beyond that,
OSHA also determined that the company had failed to monitor employees
who had been exposed to lead and did not participate in the required lead
sampling. In addition, the company did not provide the appropriate shower
facilities, protective equipment and changing areas for their employees.
They also failed to test the respirator equipment that was provided to
ensure it was an appropriate fit to prevent lead exposure. Finally, the
company did not operate a lead compliance program or post lead warning signs.
According to the director of the OSHA Pittsburgh office, lead exposure
is one of the leading causes of workplace illness and can also result
in the onset of numerous medical conditions. If this is the case for any
of the employees of the Pittsburgh employer, the company may be facing
more fines that just those assessed as penalties by OSHA.
When an employee is injured at work, he or she often has
medical expenses as a result of that injury. According to Pennsylvania law, an employer
is required to provide worker's compensation benefits to those employees
who have suffered an injury as a result of their job responsibilities.
These benefits will help the employee to deal with the financial hardships
that arise as a result of the accident.
Source: HR.BLR.com, "OSHA cites Pittsburgh firm for lead hazards," Oct. 10, 2013