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Kansas City Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Lawmakers seek inspections by OSHA at Amazon facilities

Amazon has reshaped the way customers purchase goods and has built numerous warehouses to keep pace with customer demand. However, there are concerns about the well-being of its employees throughout the country, including future Missouri workers at the soon-to-be-completed facility.  Several lawmakers have written to the  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to request an investigation of the working conditions at Amazon facilities. 

Recently, during the company's annual Prime Day sale -- this year a two-day event that allowed Prime members an opportunity to purchase selected items at reduced prices -- workers at one facility held a work-stoppage to protest working conditions. Some of the grievances included the expectation to walk an estimated 10 miles during a shift, the strain of repetitively lifting heavy objects and minimum rest breaks. The letter from lawmakers requests that OSHA officials conduct inspections to address the fears that company policies lead to the risk of serious employee injuries.

Teen construction worker dies in scaffolding fall

Even for the most experienced worker, construction work can be a dangerous occupation. If the job site requires the use of scaffolding and other structures, the potential for a deadly accident increases, especially when workers do not have extensive experience in working on these support structures. Missouri workers who are required to work on these types of platforms face the dangers posed by a scaffolding fall on a regular basis.

Recently, two construction employees were working on a scaffolding made out of two-by-fours while working on a new home construction. For reasons that are yet unclear, the scaffolding gave way and sent the two men tumbling approximately 25 feet. One of the workers was a 17-year-old who suffered multiple injuries that were described as life-threatening. The victim was transported to a local medical center where he was later pronounced deceased.

Mining industry stalling efforts to increase workplace safety

In 2010, a beloved husband, father and community member was killed in a preventable work accident. As a mechanic for an open-mining operation, he was often in his work truck. Unfortunately, he was in his parked vehicle when a large haul truck ran over top of it, crushing him. Missouri is home to several mining companies and any efforts to improve workplace safety would benefit workers here and elsewhere.

Since 1998, the Mining Safety and Health Administration has mulled regulations that would require heavy machinery to include collision prevention warning systems. Vehicles such as the 240-ton haul trucks cost upwards of $1 million and can be operated for decades. This high cost makes most companies reluctant to replace them for newer vehicles with advanced technology. The problem with these machines is an extensive blind spot that can lead to serious crashes due to a driver's inability to see obstacles in the vehicle's path.

Working environment may play bigger role in lung disease cases

There have been many studies regarding occupational exposure and various cancers. However, many health care providers may not take into consideration a worker's occupation when arriving at a diagnosis of a  noncancerous lung disease. Missouri workers who are suffering from a respiratory illness may benefit from informing their doctor about their working environment.

The latest study focused on several types of lung diseases that were not commonly considered to be occupational-related. After analyzing the data, researchers concluded that several illnesses may be contributed to by exposure to certain irritants and pollutants on the job. It was determined that those who are exposed to such hazards as dust, smoke, certain vapors and gases and later developed a lung illness may have contracted the disease through their work. The authors of the study lamented that many health care providers neglect to take environmental factors into consideration when arriving at a diagnosis.

OSHA shares list of most commonly reported safety violations

No matter the occupational field, there are always dangers that employers must be aware of in order to ensure the safety of employees. In the event of a serious accident, inspectors from OSHA will likely conduct an inspection to determine whether there were any safety violations that contributed to the accident. Missouri workers who are concerned about the safety of their workspace can report suspected violations.

Officials with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently published its list of most common safety violations. One of the top areas of concern are those pertaining to falls. Employers are required to provide all required safety measures as well as employee training to prevent the risk of a serious injury. OSHA also mandates that companies post an updated hazardous products list in those work spaces where they apply. Workers should all be informed of the protocols when handling any potentially dangerous chemicals.

Lawsuit alleges employer negligence lead to workers' death

By its nature, construction work can be a dangerous occupation. For this reason, the federal office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration has guidelines concerning how to conduct such operations as digging trenches. Unfortunately, there are occasions when suspected employer negligence has resulted in serious injuries to workers here in Missouri and elsewhere.

Recently, a lawsuit was filed over the deaths of two employees who died in a trench collapse. According to the suit, a 42-year-old man and his 56-year-old co-worker were hand digging a trench that was 12 feet deep and 41 feet long. The suit alleges that text messages from the employer directs one of the men to continue with the project regardless of any other information. A former employee refused the job over safety concerns. 

OSHA deflates tire company with serious fines for violations

Companies seek to provide a quality product or service for its customers. In furtherance of that goal, they are required to provide employees with a safe working environment. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration was formed in order to ensure that employers meet safety regulations, and OSHA has the authority to issue citations and impose fines when a company violates those standards. Missouri workers are entitled to work in an environment that protects them from harm.

Recently, OSHA released its findings of a follow-up inspection concerning a tire manufacturing plant. The company opened in 2016 and was found to be in violation of several safety regulations after an inspection in 2017. After receiving no response from company officials concerning a correction plan, OSHA inspectors returned for a follow-up visit beginning last November. The federal agency imposed fines in excess of $500,000 for approximately 21 serious violations, the majority of which involved the same areas of concern from the previous report.

Worker suffers serious injuries in industrial accident

One of the most important industries is the manufacturing of parts and equipment for use in a wide variety of commercial applications. However, the nature of the job often entails the use of large machinery and hazardous conditions that could lead to a serious industrial accident. Missouri is home to several manufacturing plants, in which it is likely that workers have suffered significant injuries.

Recently, emergency responders in another state were called to the scene of a workplace accident. According to the report, a 58-year-old man was engaged in working on a large lathe machine. Known as a computer numerical control (CNC) machine, this particular machine was a vertical turning center lathe. Apparently, the victim somehow fell into the machine while it was running.

Former Missouri weapons plant workers suffer work-related illness

During times of tension between nations, production of weapon stockpiles increases. In many communities, new production plants meant increased employment opportunities and an economic boom. Unfortunately, workers of one Missouri plant discovered that they faced a higher probability of suffering a work-related illness.

The Kansas City Plant has been home to several different companies since its beginnings in the 1940s. At one time, it housed companies engaged in producing plane parts for the military. Over time, it was expanded and came under the control of the Department of Energy, (DOE), the National Nuclear Security Administration and the General Services Administration, (GSA), which contracted for production of electrical parts to be used in nuclear weapons. The plant quickly became one of the major employment providers, but employees were not informed about the dangers of exposure to toxic materials.

OSHA investigating after woman injured in work accident

No matter one's occupation, almost every work site has the potential to become dangerous under the wrong conditions. When the job at hand requires one to be off the ground, then the possibility of suffering injuries due to a fall increases. Missouri workers who have been injured in a work accident may qualify for benefits from the Workers' Compensation Insurance Program.

Officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration opened an investigation into the causes behind a work site fall that injured a woman. According to the report, the woman was employed by a company that performs work in shipyards. The unidentified employee was working from an elevated position to complete power-washing in an enclosed area. For reasons that are yet unclear, the employee fell approximately 25 feet and landed in an unknown quantity of water.

Kelly Law Office, P.C. • 134 N. Water St. • Liberty, MO 64068
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