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Did violations of workers' rights cause death at biofuel company?

One worker was killed and another one suffered injuries in a workplace accident at a biofuel company plant in another state. As is common when fatalities occur in workplaces in Colorado and elsewhere, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate. Investigators will determine whether violations of these workers' rights to safe workplace environments caused the tragedy.

An OSHA area director reported that a welding incident sparked a fire in a distillation unit where a contractor was working. Reportedly, the worker was rescued and then airlifted to the closest burn unit. Sadly, he succumbed to his injuries after being admitted to the medical facility. Another worker suffered less severe injuries, and he was released after receiving medical treatment.

OSHA reported that this was one of several on-the-job fatalities Nebraska over recent years. It is currently investigating another fatal workplace accident that occurred in April. Also, two companies were recently fined regarding a worker who died when an explosion was caused by welding inside a storage tank. In 2014, a worker without protection against falling objects died when he was struck by a culvert weighing 3,200 pounds.

Disregard of workers' rights by employers is unacceptable. Families should not be denied the love and companionship of a loved one whose due to unsafe conditions at work. Although a fatal accident cannot be undone, the financial burden after such an unanticipated death in Colorado can be eased by workers' comp death benefits. Claims can be filed with the workers' compensation insurance fund. It typically provides coverage for funeral and burial costs, along with compensation to the victim's covered dependents for lost wages.

Source: argusleader.com, "OSHA investigating death at Lincoln County plant", Katie Nelson, May 13, 2016

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