A worker recently lost his life at a plant in a state bordering Arizona because high-grade cable snapped suddenly, striking him in the head. His co-worker lost his leg in the incident, but his exact condition is not known.
This incident at a concrete manufacturing company marks the second of two factory accidents in the last three months at this plant. In the prior incident, another worker lost his leg when a concrete pole rolled on it.
When industrial workers' accidents occur repeatedly at the same factory, one must first of all wonder whether a negligent employer is to blame. Even though in Arizona workers' compensation is a no-fault system, employers still have the duty to ensure that their employees have a safe environment in which to work. In fact, by requiring employers to provide benefits for injured workers, the workers' compensation system places the burden of creating a safe workplace squarely on the shoulders of the business owner.
A state agency is currently investigating this most recent incident. If this agency finds that the factory has violated safety standards, it will cite the factory for the violations and may order the factory to pay a fine or face other consequences. The penalty will depend on how serious the violation is. A local prosecutor is also investigating the incident to determine whether it will file charges against the factory or a member of the factory's management.
Hopefully, once a serious accident takes place at a factory, the factory takes all reasonable steps to avoid other incidents in the foreseeable future. Employers who choose to do otherwise may find themselves paying claims for multiple workplace injuries and, possibly, looking at civil fines and criminal charges.
Source: The San Bernardino County Sun, "Industrial accident at Fontana plant second in three months," Melissa Pinion-Whitt, Nov. 13, 2012