A 49-year-old man was killed recently in a meat processing plant near Zeeland, Michigan. According to reports, the man was pulled into a piece of machinery during an overnight shift while cleaning the machinery and conveyors. His wife revealed that he was working overtime to pay household bills and will leave behind three daughters, aged 10, 7 and 11 months.
Michigan’s occupational safety and health administration is being called in to investigate the industrial injury accident and fatality. Each year, this organization is called in to investigate roughly 100 work accidents which result in a fatality. Their authority gives them the power to issue citations and penalties punishing the employers.
In many instances, MIOSHA determines that a company’s safety program was inadequate and the incident was preventable. This has led some commentators to state that such incidents are not accidents. Despite the culpability of an employer, the average penalty for a serious violation is little more than $500.
Those injured at work often wonder how their employer’s culpability may affect their ability to recover a monetary award. While a negligent employer in a case may be significant, injured workers and their families may be able to recoup damages even without such a finding.
In addition, it is important for an injured worker to understand how the particular facts of their case may make them eligible for different forms of recovery. After an accident, too many workers settle for minor monetary settlements and compensation packages. When the effects of their injury return later, they may be precluded from getting another bite at the apple.
Source: The Pump Handle, “Not an “accident”: Ricardo Ramos suffers fatal work-related injury at Zeeland, Michigan plant,” Celeste Monforton, May 13, 2014