An Ohio workers’ comp lawyer explains what happened
A fatal workplace accident at a Columbus, Ohio paint manufacturing plant that also injured eight workers recently resulted in a $709,960 fine due to numerous safety violations, according to a news article published by Business Insurance.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined Yenkin-Majestic Paint Corporation based on its investigation of an explosion at the plant in April, which killed one employee and injured eight other workers who had to be hospitalized. Founded in 1920, Yenkin-Majestic Paint Corp. manufactures paint resins and coatings.
OSHA also cited the paint manufacturer for “two willful and 33 serious safety violations” involving OSHA safety procedures, hazardous waste violations, and emergency response procedure violations, according to the official OSHA announcement.
In announcing the fine, OSHA stated that the explosion “could have been prevented had the employer not altered a kettle reactor vessel improperly and then returned the vessel to service after it failed following the alterations,” according to the OSHA announcement.
Yenkin-Majestic Paint altered its kettle reactor vessel in December 2020 but failed to make sure that the vessel could safely maintain its pressure-containing ability, according to OSHA’s investigation. In January 2021, the vessel failed and the company made additional alterations but again failed to make sure the equipment was working properly and met the proper safety restrictions.
“Company leadership failed to follow their own internal audit procedures that were put in place to ensure the equipment’s integrity and that of the repair process,” OSHA’s Area Director Larry Johnson in Columbus, Ohio said in the recent OSHA statement.
How common are workplace fatalities?
Workplace fatalities have increased by 13 percent nationwide in the past decade, according to accident data compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). On average, 4,942 people die each year in workplace accidents in the past decade. And in 2019, a record high 5,333 workers died as a result of an on-the-job accident.
As for Ohio, workplace fatalities were higher in 2019 as well compared to the year before. In 2019, a total of 166 people died statewide in fatal workplace accidents. On average, 167 people die each year in Ohio workplace accidents, according to accident data gathered for the last 10 years by the BLS.
Why do workplace fatalities happen?
Fatal accidents happen for many different reasons. However, many workplace fatalities happen for similar reasons. According to the BLS, the most common causes of fatal accidents nationwide and in Ohio are:
- Fatal workplace transportation-related accidents (40 percent of workplace fatalities nationwide, 38 percent in Ohio)
- Fatal slip, trip, and fall accidents (17 percent nationwide, 19 percent in Ohio)
- Coming into contact with other objects or equipment (14 percent nationwide, 17 percent in Ohio)
- Workplace violence or attacks in the workplace (16 percent nationwide, 13 percent in Ohio)
- All other remaining causes (14 percent nationwide, 13 percent in Ohio)
Whatever the cause of the workplace fatality involving a loved one or family member, make sure you fully understand your legal rights. Make sure you talk to an experienced workplace accident lawyer as soon as possible.
Why should I hire an Ohio workers’ compensation attorney?
You might think you don’t need a lawyer if a family member died as a result of a fatal workplace accident or illness, especially if the incident is already being investigated by OSHA or another federal or state agency.
But the reality is these government agencies are only focused on determining why a fatal workplace accident happened and whether the business should be fined for safety violations. Such federal and state agencies are not focused on whether your family receives full financial compensation.
That’s our job. That’s why the experienced, Ohio workers’ compensation lawyers at Hochman & Plunkett Co., L.P.A want to meet with you. We have years of experience fighting for the rights of injured workers and their families throughout Ohio. When you have our legal team on your side, you can take an aggressive approach right from the start and demand the money your family rightfully deserves for medical bills, lost future income, and other accident-related expenses.
Don’t underestimate the complexity of your fatal workplace accident claim. Contact us and schedule a free case consultation with an Ohio workers’ compensation attorney you can trust. We have four offices conveniently located in Dayton, Cincinnati, Springfield, and Troy and handle claims throughout Ohio.