A few months ago, we blogged about an absolutely horrific and fatal workplace accident in Illinois that claimed the life of a temporary worker after the worker was scalded on over 80 percent of his body with a wave of boiling acid and water. The most disturbing part of this accident however, was that supervisors refused to call for help for the worker writhing in agony for almost an hour.
Factory officials thought that they would be better protecting themselves — never mind the critically injured worker — by making him wait to be seen at an occupational health clinic that was unable to even treat the extent of his injuries. The Occupation Health and Safety Administration fined the plant $473,000 for their list of violations.
However, this workplace fatality is being engaged in a circle of conversation that extends beyond just workers’ compensation in Illinois.
While this family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the factory and a workers’ compensation claim with the temporary staffing agency, this case is being held up as an example of the plight of the millions of temporary workers around the country. These workers often have grueling jobs in workplaces where safety is secondary to profits. Further, many of these workers are not US-born, do not natively speak English and find themselves in financially vulnerable positions. This means employers far too often violate the rights of these workers.
Temporary workers are injured more often than permanent employees in Illinois and the rest of the country, but their injuries are less often reported. This underreporting is a serious concern because it means that safety is not adjusted, and that the injured worker is not properly compensated. Many of these workers do not know where to turn.
Speaking to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney following any sort of injury on the job can be invaluable to an employee recovering financially. Employers can be intimidating, but an attorney will know how to take a stand against employers ignoring safety and turning a blind eye to injury.
Source: The Story, “Death of a Temp Worker,” Jim Morris and Chip Mitchell, March 26, 2013