No matter how risky or simple an employee’s job may be, the employer must prioritize workplace safety. Employers are required to protect their workers from unsafe working conditions that could cause workplace injury or death. In not doing so, the employer may be subject to fines and penalties from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

For example, a fatal workplace accident in a Korean-style sauna recently prompted OSHA to investigate the spa and fitness facility. According to the report, a 68-year-old employee died on the job. The worker had the duty to set up and maintain the sauna and was employed at the facility for 10 years. When the federal agency conducted the investigation in July, 2013, they discovered one health and safety violation and eight serious violations of the regulations implemented by OSHA.

The company – Super King Sauna NJ LLC – allegedly failed to provide protective gear for workers while working in excessive heat, training regarding use of fire extinguishers and information regarding unsafe chemicals in the workplace. Failure to use danger tags against carbon monoxide exposure and thermal burn hazard also are included in the safety violations. The company reportedly agreed to correct the workplace safety hazards and entered into an agreement with OSHA. Super King Sauna will also face proposed penalties worth $25,000.

A company’s safety violations may mean that the employer is doing a poor job in protecting workers against unsafe working conditions. This factor could be substantial in the eligibility of an injured worker to claim workers’ compensation. If the accident results in a workplace fatality, however, the safety violations could be considered employer’s negligence.

Source: EHS Today, “Sauna Operator Agrees to Fix Safety Hazards After Worker Death,” Josh Cable, Feb. 24, 2014