Employees of companies that are placed on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are at a significant disadvantage. When work injury hazards are left unaddressed, chances of suffering severe or fatal injuries increase. This is the fate of the workers of a Chicago masonry company. Work is hard to come by, and the employees of the company might have no other choice than knowingly putting their lives on the line each day
The safety and health of workers are the responsibility of the employer, who is required by law to protect workers from known occupational hazards. The failure to do this can lead to OSHA citations and fines, but some employers continue to disregard employee safety. According to OSHA, the masonry company was added to the Severe Violator Enforcement Program after fall protection violations were identified in 13 safety inspections since 2010.
Records show that the company repeatedly violated scaffold and fall-related safety standards. Investigators determined that workers at heights were without fall protection, and scaffold structures lacked guardrails. Safe access was not provided for workers on scaffolds, and the rebar had no caps to prevent workers from being impaled if they should fall. Inspectors found no documentation as proof of fall protection training, and no injury and illness logs were available.
The only bit of positive news for employees of this Chicago company is that the state-regulated insurance program might cover the medical expenses and lost wages of work injury victims. An attorney with experience in dealing with the Illinois workers’ compensation program can provide valuable support and guidance. Legal counsel can navigate the benefits claims process while the injured worker recovers enough to get back to work.