OSHA penalizes Pennsylvania company over worker’s fatal injuries

For many workers in Scranton and elsewhere, suffering an injury at work can bring the world crashing around them and their families. Matters can be worse if the workplace injury proves to be fatal. One such incident occurred in September 2023 at a metal finishing company that is based in a town a few hours west of Scranton.

Workplace injury and resulting death

According to reports, a 46-year-old worker was asked to clean a chrome roller on a coater machine while that machine was in operation. While cleaning, the worker was pulled into the machine and suffered injuries that proved to be fatal.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupation Health and Safety Administration conducted a fatality investigation and cited the finishing company for two wilful and two serious safety violations. The agency proposed a penalty of $345,685 and also placed the company in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

The area director for OSHA categorically mentioned that the company has a history of such injuries at several of its plants and emphasized on the need for the company to make the health and safety of its workers a top priority.

The area director also said that people at the top level of the company were aware of the risks involved in cleaning a roller while the machine is in operation. However, they disregarded necessary safety measures to reduce downtime and maximize production.

Workers’ compensation and wrongful death claims

In the event of an incident such as this, an injured worker or the family members of a deceased worker are entitled to receive compensation for the injury or death, for loss of pay, for loss of companionship, and, in certain circumstances, for punitive damages.

While Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation program is the more obvious option for claiming compensation, injured workers and family members of deceased workers should remember that a personal injury or a wrongful death claim can be filed too.

That said, filing a claim while injured or while coping with the death of a loved one can prove to be a daunting task for many injured workers and families. Therefore, it may be a wise decision to seek professional guidance whether it is a workers’ compensation claim or it is a personal injury or wrongful death claim.