Healy Scanlon Law Firm

Work-related death outside Chicago: plant faces fines from OSHA

Working in the construction industry is perhaps the most dangerous job here in Chicago, Illinois. Construction workers handle dangerous tools while standing on tall scaffoldings, which make them vulnerable to falling from heights that can result in serious injuries and fatalities. However, other industries also pose risks for workers. That is why employers need to provide a safe working environment for the employees to prevent fatal accidents from occurring. Failure to do so can lead to costly fines, which are often issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Such is the case with a metal manufacturing plant in central Illinois. Based on a report, an employee was crushed by an automated laser-cutting machine in February. The employee was taken to a local hospital, where he soon succumbed to serious head injuries. According to OSHA, the federal agency that investigated the work-related death, the company violated several safety and health regulations. OSHA proposed penalties and fines against the company in the amount of $317,000.

Aside from costly fines, the company also may be held liable for the damages sustained by the victim's family. The family of the deceased may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the company and cite negligence as a contributing factor in the fatal accident. Filing a lawsuit enables a plaintiff to recover damages based on their losses. The family's pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of companionship and other damages are compensable through the wrongful death lawsuit.

Cases like this one are preventable if the employers are aware of the risks and address the hazards that can cause accidents and injuries to the employees. In Illinois, Chicago work-related deaths may be compensable thorugh a wrongful death action. The surviving family members may be entitled to much-needed compensation that can help the family recover from the tragic event-the loss of their loved one.

Source: KWQC, "OSHA cites East Peoria plant after worker's death," Aug. 24, 2013

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