Georgia Power Company’s Plant Bowen was recently cited by officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration with more than 15 serious safety violations after a generator explosion. It happened back in April during a maintenance shutdown at the plant in Cartersville. All of these safety violations come with fines totaling close to $120,000.”It is a fundamental responsibility of employers to ensure a safe workplace,” said Christi Griffin, director of OSHA’s Atlanta-West Area Office.
Our Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyers know the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) was passed to prevent workers from being killed or otherwise harmed at work. The law requires employers to provide employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. The OSH Act created OSHA, which sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. OSHA also provides information, training and assistance to workers. If you feel like your safety is being compromised on the job, you have the legal right to speak up and raise those concerns. Your voice may prevent a serious work tragedy.
Plant Bowen’s Serious Violations:
-Failing to assign a worker the responsibility for overall tagout control.
-Not prohibiting sources near hydrogen or hydrogen sealing systems.
-Neglect to verify the isolation and de-energization of the machine or equipment.
-Failing to use the proper shutdown procedures for each piece of machinery.
-Not performing annual inspections on all of its energy procedures.
-Neglecting to follow strict procedures to take out of transfer tagout devices.
-Not properly documenting procedures.
-Failing to perform safety briefings before each job.
Going to work in a controlled and safe environment is not an unreasonable expectation for any worker. In many occupations, a level of danger is expected because it is inherent in the job. But this is more reason for companies to take employee safety seriously. The best organizations are those that understand that a safe workplace is not only the right thing to do for their employees, but also the right thing for the bottom line.
OSHA reports that for electric power generation and distribution, natural gas distribution, and water sewage and other distribution companies, the number of annual fatalities has decreased from 73 in 2006 to 26 in 2009. The total rate of injury and illness cases has also declined during that same time period from 4.1 cases per 100 workers to 3.3.
Studies have showed that when workers perceive that safety is not a priority of the company, their behaviors, their work practices and their attitudes are adversely affected. This can be a recipe for disaster leading to increased workplace accidents, injuries and fatalities, lower morale and decreased profitability. An investment in a safety program that focuses on hazard identification, training, prevention and assessment will not only help reduce losses and increase overall safety compliance records, but it could be the difference between being an industry leader or just another run-of-the-mill company.
If you or a loved one has been injured on the job, contact J. Franklin Burns, P.C., to speak with an experienced attorney. For a free consultation call 1-404-303-7770 today.