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Citation for not logging workplace injury affirmed

Citation for not logging workplace injury affirmed

An administrative law judge of the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission affirmed a willful citation against a landscaping employer for failing to log a workplace injury and assessed a $13,942 penalty.

An employee of Mulch ‘N More Inc. was operating a chain saw at an East Greenwich, Rhode Island, job site when he sustained a laceration near his knee, according to review commission documents in Secretary of Labor v. Mulch ‘N More Inc. The on-site supervisor contacted company president and owner Michael Baird and informed him of the injury. Mr. Baird directed a salesman in the vicinity to travel to the job site and take the injured employee to the hospital, where he received medical treatment, including stiches and an immobilizing wrap.

Mr. Baird knew that the employee was sent home from work the following day in connection with his on-the-job injury, but did not log the injury on the OSHA 300 Form nor prepare an OSHA 301 Form within seven days as required, according to the documents. After being notified of the injury, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration conducted an investigation and issued a single-item citation alleging a willful violation of an OSHA standard that requires that each recordable injury be recorded on the OSHA 300 Form and 301 Incident Report within seven calendar days of receiving information that a recordable injury has occurred. According to OSHA, “there was and is no legitimate excuse” for the employer’s failure to timely log the June 2017 chain saw injury within seven days as required. The agency proposed a penalty of $13,942.

The employer filed a notice of contest. During a telephone closing conference with Mr. Baird, he said he told another employee that the injury did not have to be recorded because the injured employee told the hospital that the injury occurred at home. He also said that the employee did the injury to himself, that he doesn’t do reporting and was done paying fines before hanging up on the compliance safety and health officer conducting the conference, according to the documents.

Mr. Baird did not respond to an amended summary judgment motion made by the secretary, which was granted by the law judge, who also affirmed the citation.

“Based on the evidence before it, the court finds that it cannot reasonably find in favor of the (Mulch ‘N More Inc.) on the issues of whether the cited standard was violated or regarding the proposed penalty,” the law judge said in the ruling. Mulch ‘N More “has abandoned whatever disputes or defenses it had to the citation.”

The law judge’s decision became a final order of the review commission on Thursday.

Mr. Baird could not be immediately reached for comment.


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