Companies have a responsibility to workers to provide a safe and healthy work environment. When an employee suffers a serious workplace injury, a company should report it to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in order to prevent future accidents. Companies who fail to do this may face serious fines and penalties.

Recently, a Philadelphia-based packaging plant for Hersey’s received a hefty fine for a number of safety and health violations and for covering up injuries that had been sustained on the job. According to reports, OSHA started an investigation into the plant, called Exel, after workers started protesting the hazardous working conditions. It was discovered that the company willfully neglected to report over 40 injuries that employees suffered on the job site.

The failure to report the injuries should have been bad enough, but it was also discovered that the company knowingly failed to take steps to protect workers from injuries. OSHA assigned a fine of $283,000 to the company.

Workers at the plant made claims of back, neck and arm injuries. There were also employees who were physically abused by their superiors. Additionally, an email was found that proves that, even though they were aware of the dangers, managers denied hearing protection for workers in the noisy plant.

These types of injuries can permanently affect a person’s ability to work. When injuries on the job are serious, they need to be reported and any hazardous situations must be fixed. If this does not happen, victims may want to pursue workers’ compensation for loss of wages and medical bills.

Source: The New York Times, “Hershey’s Packer Is Fined Over Its Safety Violations,” Julia Preston, Feb. 21, 2012