Imagine this: A worker at your company is killed on the job. OSHA issues your company a fine. You make changes in your safety program to prevent a similar incident, and OSHA drops the fine completely. Not possible? It is.
On June 16, Tony Northcutt was sealing cracks on a highway when a dump truck backed over him. Northcutt was killed. The dump truck driver said he looked in his mirrors but didn’t see Northcutt behind him.
Indiana OSHA issued an $1,875 fine to the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) but later waived the fine after INDOT proved it had implemented change in its safety program for its road workers.
INDOT’s new procedures call for a ground-spotter when vehicles are backing up near other workers.
An Indiana Department of Labor spokeswoman said waiving fines is standard practice for government agencies if they’ve complied with guidelines within a specific timeline, except when the violations are classified as “knowing” or “repeat.”
Of course, one practical reason for waiving safety fines against government agencies is the money would just go from one government wallet to another.
But what do you think about this practice? Should something more be required from a government agency (INDOT in this case) when a safety fine is forgiven, especially for a fatality? Let us know what you think in the comments below.