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City of Struthers cited for deaths of workers

Serious injuries can come at unexpected times, no matter where an employee works. When a worker is critically injured in Ohio, she or he has the right to make a workers’ compensation claim so that time can be taken to recover from the injury without losing all of one’s income. Unfortunately, some workplace injuries are fatal and leave families without their breadwinners. No amount of workers’ compensation can make up for the loss of a loved one.

In one such case, two workers were performing maintenance at the waste water treatment plant of Struthers, Ohio. The two men were in a compressor room where, reports indicate, methane gas had accumulated. When the room ignited, both employees were severely burned. After some weeks passed, both men had lost their lives.

The accident occurred on March 1 and since then, investigations into the accident have been ongoing. Recently, the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation issued the city of Struthers 10 citations associated with the accident. According to the agency, several of these were serious hazard violations. These include allegations that the employees were not properly trained, were not required to wear equipment to protect them from electricity, were using the wrong equipment and were working with electrical equipment in too close to gas collection equipment.

The workers’ compensation agency reported that the two men were using equipment that came with specific instructions not to use it in an area where vapors or dust could ignite. The item could have been the ignitor of the methane gas.

Had the waste water treatment plant addressed such issues, the two men would likely still be alive. No mention of a wrongful death suit occurred, but the loved ones of the deceased may have a case to be made.

Source: WYTV, “Struthers Cited for Deadly Plant Explosion,” Aug. 24, 2012

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