14 Year Old Worker Loses Hand in Work Accident

A company broke a law prohibiting workers under the age of 18 from operating power-driven wood working machinery and it resulted in the maiming of a teenage boy. The boy lost his and when he touched a part of a wood planer while manufacturing pallets.

OSHA issued the company 17 serious safety violations. They are also being investigated by the Wage and Hour division for “probable  violations of child labor laws.” To learn more about the safety violations issued visit the OSHA news release page.

Texas Company Faces More than $321,000 in Fines

A metal stamping plant in Texas is facing $321,000 in fines. The company has a 15 year history of safety violations according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

This most recent fine comes from an inspection that resulted in OSHA issuing 13 health and safety violations. The inspection was performed due to a formal complaint. During the inspection 13 violations were found that exposed workers to potentially serious injuries including amputation risks.

These risks were primarily from unsafe machinery. One of them was for “ignoring the danger of allowing employees to work with a defective 500-pound metal press that the company knew had dropped without warning” according to an OSHA press release.

Some of the other violations included not requiring workers to wear eye protection when there was a danger due to metal particles in the air and not ensuring proper hearing protection in areas with high noise levels.

In a statement regarding the violations, Diego Alvarado Jr., OSHA’s area director in El Paso, Texas said, “D&D is aware of the dangers at its production facility, but has done nothing to correct them. An employee could have been seriously injured. There is no reason, or excuse for a company to ignore basic safety requirements.”

Businesses can learn a lot from this company’s mistakes. OSHA takes worker safety seriously and so should employers.

For more information you can read the full OSHA press release.

More Employees will be Eligible for Overtime with Proposed Minimum Salary Increase

The U.S Department of Labor has released a proposal that would set the minimum salary for overtime exempt employees at $50,440 a year, or $970 a week. Currently, the minimum salary is $23, 660 a year, or $455 a week.

This requires businesses to determine how many of their employees will need to be reclassified. For an employee that is non overtime exempt,  the employer must pay them at least time and a half for any extra hour they work over 40. This new rule could cause problems for small businesses who need the flexibility that exempt status allows.

The rule is not final and there is no timeline for when it will be final.  There will be a 60 day comment period after which the DOL will review the comments and make revisions to the proposal. After the revisions are made they will be published and a date will be set for when the rule becomes effective. They are not expected to be final until at least mid 2016.

However, the proposed changes should be something that employers are aware of so that they can begin to evaluate which employees will need to be reclassified, consider the extra costs of overtime involved, and review job duties and descriptions.