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Work injury risk at Los Angeles waste plant yields hefty fines

California's Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has handed out 36 violations to a Los Angeles- based solid waste company that resulted in nearly $39,000 in fines.

The state's Department of Industrial Relations published a statement after issuing the fines saying that these serious violations should serve as a warning to other companies about the importance of ensuring that work injury risks are minimized by following appropriate regulations. The violations discovered in this case were revealed in the companies recycling department.

Cal/OSHA cited several major violations. The lack of guards on machinery, an unsafe platform that was placed on a forklift and failure to follow proper safeguards to ensure workers did not enter machines until the power was shut off were among the most serious offenses.

The agency also found other violations, including not providing employees with injury reducing education opportunities, an inadequate injury and illness program and a lack of heat illness prevention training. Cal/OSHA also discovered that the company was failing to provide its drivers and their helpers access to drinking water in the field.

Providing proper safety measures as well as adequate education on possible injuries and illnesses that may occur while performing certain jobs are an essential element in ensuring that California workers remain safe. Unfortunately, in certain cases, only the handing down of a serious fine will force companies to take the appropriate action in ensuring safety at the workplace.

When companies fail to act in a timely fashion and preventable work injuries result, it remains the right of every man and woman to be protected and to seek compensation for the suffering and recovery costs they might incur due to an injury.

Source: Recycling Today, "California OSHA Issues 36 Violations to Recycling Companies, Staffing Agency," May 30, 2012

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