Healy Scanlon Law Firm

Worker's death cautionary tale for Chicago employers


Last April, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration launched a nationwide initiative to assure the safety of temporary workers. A recent incident where a temporary worker lost his life in a workplace accident underscores the need for such safety initiatives. It should also serve as an eye-opener for Chicago employers to demonstrate the importance of employee safety.

According to OSHA, the incident occurred in an Amazon.com facility that is tasked with packing products to be sent out to customers. The temporary worker was caught in between facility equipment and crushed to death. A spokesperson for Amazon.com stated that the company is deeply saddened by the incident and will be actively cooperating with OSHA regarding the accident.

Although Amazon.com employs temporary workers, it has a good record with OSHA. Its record is so outstanding that based on the agency's safety data, it is safer to work for the company than a department store. Bu however clean their record may be, it will still undergo investigation.

Meanwhile, the OSHA initiative seeks to crackdown on companies who employ temporary workers to avoid safety obligations in the workplace. The agency stated that the workforce currently includes an estimated three million temporary workers. Fondly called "temps," such workers are often tasked with the dirty work in factories, construction sites, warehouses and other facilities that house dangerous tools and potentially hazardous equipment.

Chicago employers, whether they make use of temporary workers or regular employees, should always put worker safety at the forefront. Otherwise, workplace accidents and even deaths are more likely. Chicago work-related deaths are inexcusable and a victim's family should seriously contemplate legal action against a negligent company. Such a legal action will not only lead to justice for the death of a loved one but to a possible monetary award to help alleviate the financial distress brought about by the victim's death.

Source: USA Today, "Temporary worker dies at Amazon facility" Alistair Barr, Dec. 20, 2013

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