In 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated the Eastern Seaboard, and brought many a business to its knees. With wind gusts of 115 miles per hour, it inflicted heavy damage and disruption to many services in Newark, New Jersey, and elsewhere in the Northeast. However, Mother Nature’s wrath is no excuse for neglecting worker safety. One major local business, still reeling from the effects of the superstorm, is currently under fire from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for job site conditions that could get workers hurt on the job. The company was fined heavily after recent inspections turned up serious repeat OSHA violations.

In an OSHA inspection last September, a leading rifle manufacturer in the country, located in Bayonne, New Jersey, was found to be guilty of the same violations as in 2008. Workers were exposed to lead hazards, and management did not make medical assistance available to those who were showing signs and symptoms of lead intoxication. In addition, the company failed to implement hearing conservation and training programs, and did not provide the required yearly audiograms for workers who are exposed to noises above 85 and 90 decibels.

OSHA announced that the company is being cited for four repeat violations and is being fined $72,000. The OSHA citations were issued when the agency found that there is a substantial probability of physical harm from the workplace hazards, and that the employer should have been aware them. Lead and noise exposure have always been part of the arms business, and the company neglected to follow standards to protect its employees.

The company’s owner is taking corrective action, and is installing state-of-the-art equipment to keep the company compliant. The manufacturer has three weeks from the receipt of the citations to comply.

Worker safety takes precedence over all other concerns-profits or losses, the inability to procure much needed equipment or the effects of nature. Companies are always liable for any injuries to their employees.

Failure to address OSHA violations will be uncovered, and penalties will be imposed. Victims of unsafe workplace conditions are encouraged to take action. A civil lawsuit can be utilized to get compensation for any accidents that occur due to unsafe working conditions.

Source: The Jersey Journal, “Bayonne’s Henry Repeating Arms cited for safety violations, fined $72K: OSHA,” Ron Zeitlinger, March 27, 2013.