Almost 5,000 American workers were killed on the job in 2015, and almost 3 million workers were injured. Many of those deaths and injuries happened here in Wisconsin.
On May 31, 2017, an explosion at Didion Milling Plant in Cambria, Wisconsin, killed three workers and injured 11 others. Six years ago the corn mill had been cited by federal safety investigators for not taking precautions to protect against dust explosions.
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulates workplace safety and enforces federal safety standards. In 2011, OSHA officials reported that Didion had failed to keep its corn processing facility “free from recognized hazards that caused or were likely to cause death or serious physical harm. Employees were exposed to the hazards associated with dust explosion, deflagration or other fire hazards.”
Didion is not the first workplace to experience a deadly explosion. In fact, between 2011 and 2015 workplace fires or explosions killed 104 workers in Wisconsin, including in the farm, fishing and forestry industries.
Other Examples of Workplace Accidents
Other common workplace accidents include:
Construction site and highway work zone accidents: In March 2017, a worker died at a construction site in Rib Mountain, which is near Wausau, Wisconsin, in Marathon County. The 45-year-old Wisconsin Rapids man was drilling holes in the ceiling when he fell off a ladder. OSHA officials investigated the incident and noted that falls are a leading cause of injury and death in the workplace.
- Exposure to toxic chemicals: In February 2017 the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a report on the dangers of large containers of unknown chemicals, specifically at facilities designed to recycle and refurbish those containers. Many such facilities needed to make safety improvements to protect their workers and the community.
- Motor vehicle accidents (including drivers who work for trucking companies): In November 2016, a 64-year-old man was run over by a slow-moving semi-truck at a loading dock at Midwest Manufacturing Countertops in Eau Claire County. OSHA officials investigated the accident.
Legal Rights of Employees
Workers who are injured on the job have the right to be compensated by their employers for their injuries. In fact, all companies are required to maintain certain safety standards and obtain workers’ compensation insurance. But workers’ compensation is not always enough to recoup the expenses faced by injured workers (or the families of deceased workers) such as their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related expenses. That is why employees need to know that workers’ compensation is not their only option. In many cases, they may also bring a personal injury lawsuit against a negligent contractor, or another party who might be responsible for the accident. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you navigate the complexities of workplace injury law.
Contact Us Today
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a workplace accident, contact the personal injury attorneys at Bye, Goff & Rohde today for a free consultation. We will discuss your legal options and help you determine the best course of action for pursuing the compensation that you deserve.