Companies that deal with dangerous chemicals or products are regulated in such a way that there must be safety trainings and procedures in place for employees who come into contact with those materials. Failure to comply with government regulations can result not only in fines and citations but also work injuries or even employee deaths.
One purpose of federal agencies like the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA, is to ensure that companies are complying with regulations, to guard against work related injuries. Unfortunately that does not always happen. Two employees at Tactical Cleaning Company in Commerce City, CO were exposed to a sudden and intense fire that left one dead and one burned.
The two workers had been working in a cleaning tank facility when the chemicals caught fire. It is unclear what caused the materials to ignite, but one of the 12 violations the company received was failure to use proper electrical equipment around flammable materials. As a result, the company is looking at a $39,000 fine.
The company is not just facing federal safety and health violations and fines. Because an injury occurred on the job in the course of employment, the surviving employee may be entitled to workers compensation. The employee has medical bills and lost wages after being burned. He may also suffer from permanent disabilities if the burns are severe enough.
Additionally, the family of the worker who died is now left without a provider. If the family was dependent on him for financial support, they may also be entitled to workers compensation benefits. It is difficult dealing with the loss of a loved one. But hopefully the employees' families will be able to focus on recovering and moving forward.
Source: CBS Denver online, "OSHA Cites Colorado Company After Worker's Death," The Associated Press, 15 October 2010