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A denied request for a safety harness earns Katy company big fine

It is not just a matter of law that employers are required to provide their workers with the proper safety equipment so that they can do their jobs with minimal risk. It is a matter of common sense.

Unfortunately, common sense is something from which too many employers suffer a distinct lack. What that means for workers is danger and an increased risk of work injury. The repercussions of that are bound to be a loss of income for the worker at the very least. Then there are the likely bills for hospital bills that may have to be covered out of pocket to begin with. And if physical therapy is called for, the burden is even greater.

It's in that environment that workers also often find themselves having to fight for the workers' compensation they are due. But all this is something that might well be avoided if there was a commitment to common sense.

This rant comes to you courtesy of recent action by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. That agency issued the maximum penalty allowed against a construction company out of Katy, Texas.

OSHA officials found that the company willfully violated safety rules by ignoring a temporary worker's request for required safety equipment. He ended up falling from a 12-foot height and got sent to the hospital. It took the company three days to report the incident, when federal law requires that within 24 hours.

An investigation of the matter led to the agency proposing a fine of more than $360,000 against the construction company. That's to cover seven alleged rule violations.

The firm that supplied the temporary worker is also being cited for not inspecting the worksite as it should have and faces a fine of $4,900.

Both companies have 15 days from the date of the citations to reply.

Source:, "Texas worker injured after being denied safety equipment; employers cited," July 22, 2015

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