Employees in Pennsylvania and across the country face many hazards in the workplace. However, most employers work hard to ensure that workers are fully aware of these hazards as well as provide appropriate tools to avoid and protect them. When an employer fails to do so, they could face a Wrongful Death lawsuit should a fatal accident occur as a result.
Such appears to the be case after two workers were killed at Agridyne LLC in June 2014. Reports indicate that a 37-year-old man entered an air-tight railroad tanker to clean corn steep residue. Unfortunately, he was unaware that the tanker contained hydrogen sulfide gas, which can kill someone after only a few breaths.
After he lost consciousness, a 29-year-old man jumped in to assist him. He reportedly started to carry him out when he also lost consciousness. A subsequent investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration found that the two men were victims of serious and willful safety violations. In addition to failing to train employees about the potential hazards, the company also failed to provide appropriate safety gear, including gas masks and harnesses. The investigation resulted in a fine of $266,000 against Agridyne.
Additionally, the company has recently settled a wrongful death lawsuit; each of the men's families will receive $3 million. As part of the settlement, the company will not admit liability for the deaths. While employers are required to provide workers' compensation insurance benefits, many injured workers in Pennsylvania -- and their families in the event of a fatality -- may choose to take additional measures if their loss is the result of negligence.
Source: pjstar.com, "Families to receive $6 million in 2014 Agridyne deaths," Michael Smothers, Jan. 10, 2018