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Workers' compensation when companies neglect safety

Thousands of Maryland employees head to work every morning with thoughts of the end of the day already in their minds. Little thought may be given to the duties needed to be performed while on the job, as the task is usually something that is completed on an almost daily basis. Sometimes the employees become complacent, and other times, employers fail to provide their workers with what they need to complete the job safely. When an employee is injured or killed while performing work-related tasks, workers' compensation is a benefit that many will utilize to help see their family through the financial rough patch that will most likely follow the incident.

A power company in another state was issued a "willful" violation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration after five employees lost their lives while performing maintenance at a power plant. The men were instructed to unclog a slag pool, which is created as a byproduct that resembles lava and reaches comparable temperatures. According to OSHA, the particular tank the men were to unclog had been blocked for at least 13 hours. Protocol details that the unit should have been shut off after 6 to 8 hours of a clog or issue.

The team assembled and attempted to drain and release the clog using high-pressure water hoses. Before they could complete the task, the clog at the top of the tank burst, raining down hot slag on the men, burning them instantly. Plant procedure dictates that the broiler was to be turned off before maintenance, but OSHA learned that the broiler was actually functioning at full capacity.

Some workplace accidents are completely avoidable, especially when workers and their supervisors maintain a safe working environment and follow procedures. When a company forgoes policy and procedure to save money, all the while knowingly putting employees in danger, the consequences can be devastating. A loved one and the income they provided to help sustain a family can be lost in an instant. When a worker is fatally injured while on the job, workers' compensation death benefits are typically available to a surviving spouse and any minor children. An experienced Maryland attorney can assist families in the steps of filing or appealing workers' compensation claims, and assessing whether there are additional avenues for legal recourse.

Source: tampabay.com, "OSHA: Tampa Electric ignored its own rules in accident that killed 5 workers", Kathleen Mcgrory, Neil Bedi & Anastasia Dawson, Dec. 28, 2017

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