The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined a Manhattan women’s jewelry and accessories maker nearly $50,000 for creating an unsafe working environment. The fine comes after Natasha Accessories Ltd. was found to have blocked exits and exposing workers to fire and safety hazards. In particular, there were no directional emergency exit signs to direct employees and customers where to exit the building during an emergency, exit signs that were not illuminated, and non-exit doors that were not marked as such. In addition, exit doors were blocked, fire doors were found to be propped open, sprinkler heads were obstructed, and there were various electrical and safety hazards.
All Workplaces Should be Free of Hazards
When one thinks of unsafe work environments, an image of a construction site probably comes to mind first. And to be sure, construction sites present a variety of dangerous conditions that can injure or even kill workers. But any work environment can present dangerous hazards. In the case of Natasha Accessories, the hazards found by OSHA inspectors could have resulted in workers being electrocuted, hit by falling boxes or debris, or trapped inside the building in the event a fire broke out.
Just as all workplaces present their own unique hazards, all employers have a responsibility to provide their employees with a safe work environment. Employers should take the time to investigate their work sites and look for potential safety hazards that might endanger their workers. Where such hazards are found, employers are to take steps to reduce or eliminate these hazards. In the case of Natasha Accessories, for instance, the employer should have noticed that things like blocked sprinkler heads and fire doors that could not be closed created a dangerous environment for their workers. Simply clearing the area around sprinkler heads and ensuring fire doors were not blocked would have not only made the workplace safer but would have kept Natasha Accessories from having to pay thousands of dollars in fines.
Workplace Injury Prevention Protects Employers and Employees
Employers should not stop simply at identifying and correcting known workplace hazards. Employers should take the time and have regular safety briefs with their workers, especially when new hazards are discovered. Employees should be informed what hazards exist and how to avoid them. Evacuation plans should be made known so workers know what to do in the event of a fire or other emergency. By being safety-conscious and proactive, employees can avoid preventable workplace injuries and employers can avoid costly OSHA penalties.
Contact us today at (508) 755-7535 for a free consultation if you were injured at any workplace or jobsite. We can investigate the facts of your particular situation, including your rights to workers compensation and any rights against a third party for negligence.