One of many Illinois cases that illustrates safety concerns released in recent AFL-CIO report.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the arm of the United States Department of Labor responsible for establishing and enforcing workplace safety standards and regulations. Woodridge Enterprises Inc. in Lemont Illinois was recently required to participate in OSHA's Severe Violator Enforcement Program after being cited repeatedly for safety violations. Woodridge isn't the only Illinois Company with multiple repeat violations. In a recent report, the AFL-CIO points to soft OSHA penalties as being a major factor in dangerous workplace conditions.
In its most recent round of violations, Woodridge was cited for eight safety violations. Of these, three were repeat violations relating to failing to meet fall protection standards. OSHA lists falls as the leading cause of death in the construction related occupations. OSHA has cited Woodridge before, including safety violations in 2009, 2010, and 2012. The most recent violations are expected to result in just under $50,000 in fines, in addition to submitting to additional inspections designed to ensure compliance with safety regulations. Woodridge is just one of many Illinois companies with multiple citations for ongoing safety violations, a problem addressed by the AFL-CIO in its 2012 report on workplace fatalities.
According to the AFL-CIO report, soft OSHA penalties for violations allow employers to avoid making the necessary changes to meet code. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to pay the fine than to implement change. Furthermore, OSHA is chronically short staffed, lacking the personnel it needs for effective inspection and enforcement. According to the report, at current staff levels, it would take 89 years to inspect each Illinois workplace one time. Companies may be required to submit to frequent inspection, but that doesn't guarantee OSHA will have sufficient staff to carry out those inspections.
In many cases, the most powerful and efficient means employees have at their disposal to effectively deal with workplace safety problems or injuries resulting from such situations is a law suit. The courts have historically been an important part of achieving social change, including civil rights, women's rights, and workers rights. If you are dealing with a workplace issue or injury, a skilled Chicago personal injury attorney or workers compensation lawyer may be your best option for a just outcome. Ankin Law is well experienced with these matters, including class action suits. Call (800) 442-6546 today to schedule a consultation.