Utah companies cited 647 times in 2017 for putting workers in harm's way
(KUTV) There have been a couple high-profile workplace accidents in Utah in the last few weeks - including two workers who were killed.
It got us wondering just how frequently Utah's OSHA health and safety division is called to the scene of a Utah workplace accident and what happens when they get there.
Through public records, Get Gephardt found that, last year in Utah, 11 people died on the job.
Records also show that UOSH was a lot busier than that. Officials wrote a total of 647 citations to Utah businesses for having unsafe work conditions. Those citations added up to $1,703,556.
It’s big money, but keeping people safe on the job is big, important work, says Director Cameron Ruppe.
“People get hurt. People die. People lose fingers. People lose legs,” he said. “I think it is important to remove those hazards from the workplace."
Ruppe’s strong defense of those large fines makes another number interesting: $398,987. That's the amount of money that the state didn't collect last year -- on purpose. Instead, companies were let off the hook after creating a dangerous situation being told that if they fix the hazard their citations would be reduced by 50 percent.
Ruppe says they communicate with employers that if a hazard isn’t fixed, the penalty will be much more severe next time.
Ruppe says most of the time, bosses want to keep their guys and gals safe.
"They might not know how, they might not know what the regulations are, but they want to have a safe and healthy workplace," Ruppe said.