Unsafe employers cited in report

A death at an Ohio company put it on a list of employers in this country who placed employees and communities at risk through their unsafe practices, according to the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health private safety advocacy coalition. A fatal workplace accident is often the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit.

National COSH issued its 2018 report of the "Dirty Dozen" of unsafe employers last month. This group named an excavating company from Mason, Ohio, where a 25-year-old worker was buried alive in 2017. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration had cited the company three times for its failure to protect its workers from trench collapses.

The group also placed well-known national companies in the report. Amazon was named because seven workers died at its warehouses since 2013. These deaths included three work fatalities within five weeks at three different locations in 2017.

Lowe's Home Improvement was identified by National COSH because of 56 deaths linked to paint strippers containing methylene chloride. These included 17 workers who died while they were refinishing bathtubs. According to this group, this chemical may be toxic even in small doses.

National COSH also reported that Tesla Motors of Fremont, California, had recordable injuries that were 31 percent above the average for the automotive industry. It said that serious injuries are 83 percent greater. Tesla argued that it had recent improvement in injury rates.

Data, according to this group, also shows that workplace fatalities in this country are rising. There were 5,190 fatalities attributed to workplace trauma in 2016, according to recent information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was a 7 percent increase from 2015 and a 12 percent rise since 2012.

OSHA's budget, however, has dropped 12 percent since 2012 and that agency has 132 less employees. Worker safety agencies such as OSHA and the National Institutes for Occupational Safety and Health also face budget cuts in fiscal year 2018. The U.S. Safety Board and a training grant which assists vulnerable workers were also eliminated.

Families who suffer the loss of a loved one in these fatal accidents may be entitled to compensation and damages. They may need to get more information to determine if the employer violated laws or engaged in negligence.

Source: National Council for Occupational Health and Safety, "National COSH announces 'dirty dozen' employers," Accessed May 7, 2018

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