A recent report from FoodQualityNews.com describes the unsafe practices by a Massachusetts fish processing company. As the Boston Herald originally reported, the lack of sound practices helped contribute to the death of an employee. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recently proposed fines against Sea Watch International for its dangerous activities. The article speaks to the dangers of companies that do not attempt to protect their workers and the critical role that the state and/or federal government plays in monitoring businesses.
A Host of Violations
Among the list of violations that the fish processing company committed were: failing to provide a lockout device; incomplete lockout/tagout procedure; not performing periodic inspections to verify that the correct procedures were followed; and not providing training for concerned sanitation workers in lockout/tagout procedures. In addition to procedural violations, OSHA found that Sea Watch International exposed its workers to fall hazards and did not give them sufficient protection by providing up-to-date information in chemical hazard communication methods. The OSHA area director for southeastern Massachusetts has stated that the company could have prevented the unfortunate death if it had implemented the requisite safety procedures.
Know Your Rights
Although the OSHA area director also mentioned the responsibility of the employer to ensure the safety of its workers, the article speaks of the necessity that workers who participate in dangerous jobs know their rights and protections. Employers have a duty to make certain that employees in dangerous occupations have all unnecessary risks and dangers minimized so that tragic outcomes such as the one that befell the deceased employee occur as seldom as possible.
The article also discussed matters concerning temporary and full-time employees. At the New Bedford plant, only 15 of the 200 employers were full-time. However, for matters concerning workers’ compensation, whether or not an employee is part-time or full-time, if a person is injured while in the process of executing work duties, that person is eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
What Do I Need to Know for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
In the state of Massachusetts, an injured worker can obtain weekly compensation benefits after they have been unable to earn wages for five partial or full calendar days due to work-related injury or illness. It is not necessary that the five partial or full calendar days take place in a consecutive manner. A person can also attempt to receive their benefits for working-related injuries in a lump sum rather than in weekly installments if they can reach an agreement with the employer’s insurance company. In Massachusetts, it is also important to note that workers’ compensation is available for people who are undocumented immigrants, so a person should not believe that their immigration status can prevent them from obtaining justly merited benefits.
If you have a problem that concerns workers’ compensation, you should contact the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today. We have an exceptional reputation in the field of workers’ compensation and will do everything in our power to assist you with your claim.
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