Pennsylvania is rightfully proud of its storied history of heavy industry, but we know that people in particular lines of work are exposed to greater risk of injury or death while on the job. Occupations where employees are frequently around large machines and heavy raw materials are often among the most dangerous. That does not mean, however, that workers in more hazardous industries should be any less entitled to compensation for workplace injuries.
A shipbuilder’s work environment is filled with tons of steel and other materials that could cause injury or death if proper safety precautions are not followed. Unfortunately, a recently released OSHA report on the death of a shipbuilder appears to indicate that his company, Jeffboat, failed to observe required safety measures.
The man died last year when he became caught between a barge and transfer car. One preventable accident is bad enough. But this was not the only recent death at Jeffboat. In 2010, two employees were killed in separate incidents at the shipbuilder’s facility. Both of those men lost their lives when they fell from heights.
The OSHA report included nine violations of federal regulations. OSHA deemed that Jeffboat had committed one of those violations willfully, which means that the company did it “with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.”
An employer is required to maintain a safe workplace in compliance with state and federal laws. When a company’s workers suffer repeated injury, it may indicate that the company is not observing safety requirements. OSHA’s report on Jeffboat suggests that the recent deaths were the result of the company’s failure to conform to appropriate safety standards.
Source: WDRB.com, “Jeffboat cited for nine federal violations in worker’s death,” Mar. 1, 2012.