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Workplace accidents: Laundry company cited again

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration works hard to protect workers from hazards nationwide, including in New York. The federal agency recently cited a laundry company in a neighboring state for the second time in two years for allowing work environments that are conducive to workplace accidents. OSHA issued several citations for safety violations -- some of which were repeat offenses.

Investigators found workers operating electrical equipment inappropriately without protection against excessive noise exposure. Broken equipment remained in use, and employees had to cross a busy street to push laundry carts from one building to another. Furthermore, fire extinguishers were blocked, and bathroom facilities were reportedly inadequate. There was also concern about the safety of workers after police reported gunshots were heard in the area.

OSHA says it cited the company for violations of a similar nature in 2014, at which time the proposed penalties were almost $165,000. After the latest inspection, proposed penalties were close to $92,000. It remains to be seen whether employees of this company will benefit from the investigation. Some employers pay their penalties and continue to disregard workers' safety.

The workers' compensation insurance systems in New York and other states provide coverage of expenses brought about by workplace accidents. Whenever an employee suffers injuries in a work-related accident, he or she can file a benefits claim. Along with coverage of medical expenses, the program may provide compensation for a portion of a victim's lost wages. Permanent disability may bring additional benefits and possible vocational training to equip the victim with new skills.

Source: nj.com, "Paterson laundry company again faces citations for alleged workplace hazards", Sara Jerde, Dec. 21, 2016

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