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Many workers' compensation claims come from hazards at 1 company

Three workers lost their lives in an explosion at a plant that manufactures corrugated container boards. Although this tragedy happened in another state, many workers' compensation claims are said to have resulted from workplace accidents at facilities of this company in other states, including in Ohio. Reportedly, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has repeatedly issued citations at various facilities of this manufacturer.

The recent explosion apparently resulted from a build-up of gas in a tank holding organic fiber waste. OSHA says the company's failure to do hazard analysis caused it to be unaware of the highly flammable hydrogen gas that was produced by the growth of anaerobic bacteria inside the tank. A similar explosion at one of the company's facilities in another state claimed the lives of three employees in 2008.

At the manufacturer's plant in Akron, Ohio, OSHA investigators determined that workers were exposed to serious hazards, including amputation risks. The federal safety agency issued eight citations of which three were repeat violations. At a Wisconsin facility, where the other fatal explosion occurred in 2008, two workers were fatally injured by fly ash in 2012. After a severe burn injury to an employee in 2013, OSHA cited the company for 30 violations of safety regulations.

Employees of the Ohio plant of this company may live in constant fear of suffering severe injuries in the workplace. The fact that workers' compensation benefits are available for injured workers may ease their minds to some extent. Benefits typically cover medical expenses and lost wages. If any of those workers should die in workplace accidents, surviving family members will be entitled to pursue death benefits for the coverage of end-of-life expenses and a percentage of wage replacement. In view of the company's long record of safety transgressions, an attorney could access specific circumstances to determine the viability of personal injury or wrongful death claims in civil court, seeking recovery of additional damages.

Source: katc.com, "Corporation behind fatal DeRidder explosion has history of worker fatalities, safety violations", Feb. 8, 2017

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