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Workplace accident causes fines for Massachusetts bakery

Workplace accidents can result in substantial fines and penalties from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration if the company in question is found to be in violation of safety regulations or allowing unsafe practices in their workplace. When someone is injured on the job in Massachusetts, a worker's compensation claim can coincide with the OSHA investigation. The worker's compensation claim can help provide the person who had the workplace accident with often sorely needed insurance benefits to cover medical bills and lost income for time missed from the job while recovering.

A Massachusetts bakery was recently cited by OSHA after one of the bakery's workers caught her apron in a conveyor belt. The machine she was working on did not have a properly marked, easily-accessible emergency stop button or adequate guards. The woman could not free her apron in time and she was strangled. OSHA found serious safety violations and fined the bakery several thousand dollars.

The same bakery was also cited two years ago when a woman who was working on a line that produced baked goods severed one of her fingers. In this workplace accident, two conveyors created a nip point, or a narrow opening, from which the women could not remove her finger. In addition to losing her finger, the woman was hospitalized for extensive treatment.

In the past 13 years, nearly two dozen Massachusetts workers were crushed by machinery and died. This occurred most commonly because the guards on the machinery they were using at the time of the accident were not sufficient to keep them safe. This is a violation of OSHA standards, which state that machines or processes with the potential to cause serious damage and/or injury should be regulated or removed. Their families were potentially eligible for worker's compensation.

In the case of a workplace accident in which someone is injured, disabled or killed on the job, OSHA typically investigates the business in question to ensure the future safety of the people working there. Apart from any investigation, the injured person or the surviving family members of a worker killed at work may file a worker's compensation claim. While it can't undo what happened, a successful claim can help the injured person (or family dependents when there is a death) receive state-regulated insurance benefits for medical expenses, funeral costs and a lost income package.

Source: EHS Today, Employee Strangles on Equipment in Bakery, OSHA Cites Employer, Sandy Smith, Oct. 31, 2013

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