Workplace death: Freak accident or preventable?
Posted with permission from Confined Space, a newsletter of workplace safety and labor issues.
Sometimes, when you’re reading about the tragedies in the Weekly Toll, there are a few that you think, “Well, that’s too bad, but what are you going to do….?”
Like this one in this week’s Weekly Toll:
An elderly employee crashes a car into a crowd of people, killing three, including an employee. We’ve seen these stories before. Old people and three tons of moving steel don’t always mix. Shake your head, say a prayer and move on. Right?
Not so fast. It turns out that not only is the Lynnway Auto Auction going to now take some precautions — setting up safety barriers to protect crowds — but they had been warned before. And had ignored the warnings.
And MASSCOSH, the COSH Group in Massachusetts is on the case, noting that that worker killed — and Ann, who warned of the hazard — are temporary workers:
Lynnway plan to install bollards “as soon as possible, and Jersey barriers in the meantime.
And in the “no good deed goes unpunished” department, Lynnway also commented that
OK. Uncooperative attitude, but somehow worked there for three years…..
The lessons here are that there are that even if it’s not initially evident, there are almost always ways that injuries and fatalities could have been prevented . There is almost no such thing as a “freak accident” that someone couldn’t have done something to prevent.
The second lesson is that despite the fact that Section 11(c) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act prohibits employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their health and safety rights, it happens anyway. And your rights are even harder to defend if you work for a temporary agency that decides they don’t want you back because of your “uncooperative attitude.”
Click here to visit Confined Space.