According to EHStoday.com, Gleason Roofing Co., a roofing contractor from Enfield, CT, is facing $294,000 in fines from four willful and two serious violations for improper work conditions.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) found multiple incidents of employees falling from 10 feet up to 16 feet high while ripping out shingles. The main point of concern was ladders that did not meet the minimum requirement of three feet above the landings to ensure effective stability.
“These employees were one slip, trip, or step away from deadly or disabling injuries,” stated Warren Simpson, OSHA’s area director in Hartford. He continued saying, “Their employer knew this, yet chose to do nothing about it.”
It is not uncommon for companies to ignore some safety precautions in favor of cost-effective practices — until the injury lawsuits start flooding in. The most common accidents involve slip, trip, or fall incidents, which account for 25% of all injury claims reported against employers every year.
The situation the Gleason Roofing Co. found themselves in is not unusual for businesses involving manual labor. However, some companies have worked to implement safety measures that keep their employees safe and prevent losses due to work-related injury claims.
CedarRepublican.com reported on an award for consistently safe workplace practices given to the West Central Missouri Community Action Agency. Kent Fischer of Missouri Employers Mutual presented this award to only 15 companies in the entire State of Missouri.
Fischer explained “Slips, trips, and falls are the number one cause of workplace injuries, averaging $47,696 per lost-time claim.”
When asked what practices set them apart from other companies, Fischer said, “West Central has excelled in its safety efforts by identifying hazards and reducing the number of claims through a concerted focus on safety.”
Instead of cutting corners to make a little extra profit by putting employees in harm’s way, West Central made an effort to determine what factors could be dangerous and act on improving those conditions before they could become problematic.
When hundreds of thousands of dollars are on the line from workplace injury lawsuits, saving some extra cash on sub-par equipment may turn out to be the biggest waste of money.