Northeast Georgia Company Fined Almost $80K by OSHA
According to an article on accessnorthga.com, the Tenneco Automotive Operating Company Inc. manufacturing plant in Hartwell, GA has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for 16 safety and health violations. The inspection by OSHA was prompted by a complaint alleging hazards on the premises back in February and could cost the company $79,300 in penalties.
In the inspection report, OSHA claims that there were 14 serious violations that failed to protect employees from exposure to hexavalent chromium, including ensuring that employees working with and around the toxic chemical compound removed their contaminated clothing and showered before exiting the facility after a shift. It was also reported that management at the plant did not provide free medical surveillance for employees who showed signs of exposure to the hexavalent chromium. This was not the only reported violation. Others included tripping and fall hazards, as well as inadequate rules regarding respirator usage.
OSHA classifies a serious violation as an instance when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known. Workers who breathe chemicals, such as hexavalent chromium compounds at their jobs for many years, may be at increased risk of developing lung cancer. There were two other violations that involved improper record keeping in the OSHA log and allowing a temporary electrical extension cord to be used as permanent wiring.
These serious violations show disregard for the safety of the company’s employees. It is unfortunate that some companies rarely think of the consequences of their actions until it’s too late. The director of OSHA’s Atlanta-East Area Office, William Fulcher, said that, “Tenneco needs to take proactive steps to halt these safety and health hazards. OSHA will not tolerate employers who fail in their duty to keep their workers safe.”
Every employer out there should be forewarned, and learn lessons from reports like these. Workers want to know that they are cared for and that their lives matter to the company for which they work. If you notice anything in your workplace that seems dangerous or hazardous in any capacity, you are well within your rights to report it. Be proactive about your work safety so that you never have to experience an accident.
If you have questions for a workers compensation attorney in Georgia today, give Ty a call at 1-888-689-5224.