OSHA Whistleblower Law Saves Lives
After an OSHA Whistleblower complaint filed by an employee at Houston’s Piping Technology and Products Inc. spurred an OHSA investigation, the company now faces over $1,000,000 in penalties resulting from 13 willful and 17 serious violations. The concerned worker approached the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration earlier this year with several claims of workplace hazards including unguarded presses and a lack of brakes on overhead cranes. Along with substantiating the worker’s claims, investigators found the company to be exposing its workers to the risk of severe work injury as well as amputation from its dangerous machinery.
Piping Technology’s willful violations include the failure to lock out all sources of hazardous energy to equipment prior to servicing or maintenance and the failure to guard seven band saws. A willful violation is defined as one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health. Each of the 13 willful violations holds a penalty of $70,000 each. The company, who has been issued citations in years past, has now been placed in OHSA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.