Following an incident in March, the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health launched an investigation of which the outcome led to the proposal of a substantial fine. The business is the design studio of Adidas America Inc. with which Kanye West is affiliated. Cal/OSHA determined that the company failed to protect workers at the facility adequately, giving rise to workplace injuries.
According to a report of the accident that prompted the investigation, three employees were moving a machine that is used in the manufacturing of shoe soles. They used a pallet jack to assist with the process of moving the heavy piece of equipment. Although pallet jacks are not suitable for safe use on inclined surfaces, these workers pushed it where there was a slope, and it tipped over.
The machine fell onto one worker, causing serious injuries to his left hand and foot. Cal/OSHA’s summary indicates that the employer violated the requirement to establish an effective program to prevent injuries. Furthermore, workers at the facility were not trained in the safe operation of pallet trucks, and proper supervision could have stopped them from using it on an incline. Such a warning is also contained in the manufacturer’s manual.
Cal/OSHA proposed a $45,000 fine, which might bring a safer work environment for the Adidas workers in this facility in the future, but it came too late to prevent the workplace injuries of this employee. Fortunately, the California workers’ compensation insurance program offers benefits to cover medical expenses and lost wages of injured workers. The services of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can be used to help with the navigation of the claims program.