Articles Posted in Workplace Accidents

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A trackhoe operated by an outside contractor punctured a portion of the Colonial Pipeline in Shelby, Alabama, causing a massive fuel-fed explosion, killing one and sending six to the hospital. The trackhoe was apparently excavating over the pipeline during repair work related to a previous leak which occurred two months ago.

The Colonial Pipeline Explosion has caused fuel shortages up and down the east coast, and caused gas prices to rise. Atlanta based Colonial Pipeline has been cited twice by federal investigators since September by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Pipeline safety remains a serious problem, as shown by the recent Alabama pipeline explosion .

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A workplace accident at Zodiac Cabin & Structure Support in Newport, Washington in July of 2015 has led to a massive 1.3M fine. Seventeen Workers were injured in the flammable vapors explosion at the aerospace plant after a defective curing oven (which should not have been in service) exploded.

Washington’s Department of Labor and Industries issued 17 willful violations and 18 serious violations for Zodiac’s failure to require safety interlocks and safeguards to ensure curing ovens were used safely.

In Washington, employers may be liable in tort for injuries to their employees if the employer is found guilty of intentional negligence. In Birklid v. Boeing, “intentional injuries” were broadened to include injuries where the employer had actual knowledge that an injury was certain to occur and willfully disregarded that knowledge. Employees may, under certain circumstances, bring a civil action against their employer in Washington. Such an action could be an option to the Zodiac workers involved in the July 2015 explosion.

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Georgia mesothelioma attorney and work injury lawyer was recently featured in the Fulton County Daily Report, Atlanta’s daily legal newspaper, for the result achieved in the Bradley vs. Procter & Gamble and Fru-Con Constructionmatter. On January 1, 2011, Michael Bradley was injured while working on a pressurized system at the P&G facility in Augusta, Georgia. Jonah Flynn brought claims against the designers of the system upon which Mr. Bradley was working, as well as claims against the Procter & Gamble Company, the parent organization to Mr. Bradley’s employer, Procter & Gamble Manufacturing Company. After lengthy discovery, the Mr. Bradley’s claims were favorably resolved.

FCDR Article-Flynn-Bradley Case.pdf
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The Flynn Law Firm is pleased to report that it has resolved an industrial accident lawsuit brought by a Procter & Gamble employee against the Procter & Gamble Company and others responsible for designing and installing an industrial system in Augusta, Georgia.

On January 1, 2010, Plaintiff Michael Bradley was performing maintenance on a paste agglomeration (PAG) supply line when, without warning, a caustic solution used in the manufacture of household detergents struck him in the face, causing severe injury. The Defendants had a role in the design, construction, installation or maintenance of the system upon which Mr. Bradley was working at the time of his incident or, alternatively, manufactured products which were a part of that system. Procter & Gamble Company was the parent company of Plaintiff’s employer, Procter and Gamble Manufacturing Company, and was added as a separate party to the case.

The PAG system upon which Mr. Bradley was working at the time of his injury is a complicated piping system used to make paste agglomerate, an ingredient in powdered laundry detergents such as Tide and Gain. In 2004, P&G initiated “Project Flood to change the PAG system so that the paste agglomerate it created could be made using new ingredients and different processes. In the area where Michael Bradley was injured, the piping was reconfigured to allow for splitting of paste between one of two mixers. In so doing, two manual valves were moved from the fourth floor of the building to the ceiling of the third floor. Because the valves were in the ceiling of the third floor, over twenty feet from the ground, the valves were automated. Michael Bradley was injured when one of the valves failed to open Continue reading →

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One of the victims of the Louisiana Plant Explosion in Giesmar, Louisiana, 29 year-old Zach Green of Hammond, Louisiana, was laid to rest yesterday. Zach Green had a “heart of gold” according to his friends. “Zachary was very energetic,” Giovingo said. “He had a heart of gold. He loved, loved, loved his sister Holly…He would do anything for friends and family. He was one of those rare gems that God had blessed you with.”

At least 77 others were injured in the blast, and Williams Olefins explosion victims have been sent to burn units in Baton Rouge and Gonzales for burn care. It’s unclear what caused the explosion and subsequent fire, but the plant manufactures propylene and ethylene, chemicals that are highly flammable.
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According to published reports. investigators have not identified the root cause of the Williams Olefins Explosion last week. But officials at the Williams Olefins facility confirmed Friday that propylene, the chemical that caught fire, had been identified as leaking from a corroded pipe just six months ago. While the OSHA and CSB investigations are not complete, it appears that the corroded pipe—at a petrochemical facility–was likely a potential cause of the massive deflagration.

Louisiana State Police confirmed Thursday the fire that raged at the Williams Olefins Refinery after the early morning blast was fed by propylene, one of two highly flammable chemicals produced by the plant. On Friday, plant manager Larry Bayer added that a major expansion project — which will increase the plant’s annual production capacity by 600 million pounds — was ongoing near the blast site and that the facility was busy with additional construction personnel.

But the company said it doesn’t yet know what triggered the propylene combustion that resulted in two fatalities and 77 injuries. It has also not answered questions about a December leak of propylene from a corroded pipe that was significant enough to trigger a shutdown of work in the immediate area and a response by the plant’s emergency brigade, according to a report sent by Williams to the state Department of Environmental Quality.
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American Marazzi Tile has been cited by the OSHA for violation of 25 workplace health and safety rules. The Sunnyvale, Texas based tile manufacturer must now pay $318,000 in fines or contest the charges before an OHSA review board.

The company was cited for willful violations which could have produced serious work injuries or workplace death, inclding citations for failure to provide the required machine guards for exposed belts, chains, pulleys and sprockets. Additionally they neglected to establish a lockout/tag-out system for energy sources to protect their employees from the unexpected start-up of machines. Perhaps the most powerful example of American Marazzi’s indifference to employee safety and health is their absence of a hearing conservation program for workers exposed to prolonged work-related noise of more than 85 decibels. OHSA noted the company with having 21 other serious violations.

Dangerous workplaces often require the best Georgia workers compensation lawyer when an employee is seriously injured.

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After an OSHA Whistleblower complaint filed by an employee at Houston’s Piping Technology and Products Inc. spurred an OHSA investigation, the company now faces over $1,000,000 in penalties resulting from 13 willful and 17 serious violations. The concerned worker approached the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Health and Safety Administration earlier this year with several claims of workplace hazards including unguarded presses and a lack of brakes on overhead cranes. Along with substantiating the worker’s claims, investigators found the company to be exposing its workers to the risk of severe work injury as well as amputation from its dangerous machinery.

Piping Technology’s willful violations include the failure to lock out all sources of hazardous energy to equipment prior to servicing or maintenance and the failure to guard seven band saws. A willful violation is defined as one committed with intentional knowing or voluntary disregard for the law’s requirements, or with plain indifference to employee safety and health. Each of the 13 willful violations holds a penalty of $70,000 each. The company, who has been issued citations in years past, has now been placed in OHSA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

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Trench collapses are a common source of Georgia workers compensation claims and workplace injury claims. Often, trenches are dug quickly, with little or no structural design required to ensure those digging are actually safe. In January, Michael Wilson, of Chester County, PA, was killed when a trench he was digging collapsed.

Recently, OSHA fined Wilson’s employer, J.D. Eckman, Inc., for failing to have trained supervisors on hand to adequately supervise the digging operation. Additionally, the two men working on the trench were not trained on the use of pneumatic jack hammers, and were using the equipment in a way which led to the collapse.
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Mississippi’s Howard Industries, Inc., in Ellisville, Mississippi was recently cited by OSHA for 17 safety violations following the electrocution death of Benjamin Edwards Spoon while testing transformers. According to the OSHA citation, Spoon’s employer failed to have an adequate lock out-tag out procedure, failed to conduct PPE hazard assessments, and failed to provide insulated gloves.

In this situation, the power company Spoon’s employer was hired by could have some liability for using a contractor with known unsafe work practices and/or failing to adequately monitor the work. The Flynn Law Firm has represented injured workers in Mississippi, last year concluding two cases against International Paper for a boiler explosion at the Vicksburg mill. The Flynn Law Firm currently represents an injured lineman in a case pending in Smith County, Mississippi.