Many Employers Fail to See Serious Penalties for Safety Violations

Aug. 16, 2012

Workers depend on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure employers provide safe work environments. However, according to an article from the Post Crescent, Wisconsin businesses that commit safety infractions are rarely fined and, when they are, the penalty is often lessened through settlements.

OSHA data shows that, of the 240 workplace accidents in Wisconsin throughout the past 11 years, only 184 cases resulted in fines. In cases where fines were issued, employers paid an average of $4,200.

After three welders were killed in 2008 after a storage tank explosion in Tomahawk, Wisconsin, their employer paid less than $23,000 in fines. Reports indicate the company had failed to properly check for explosive gases before work began, resulting in four serious violations of safety law.

Earlier this week, another worker was killed in a similar explosion at the same facility.

Laws pertaining to Wisconsin Workers’ Compensation forbid families from filing wrongful death lawsuits when a person dies on the job. This means the family of a worker who dies on the job may receive as little as $20,000 in benefits.

A Green Bay personal injury lawyer at Sigman, Janssen, Sewall, Pitz & Burkham understands how frustrating a work-related injury can be, and they are always available to answer any questions an injured worker has regarding their legal rights.