Articles Posted in Workers Compensation

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OSHA Investigation of Fatal Ingram Street Water Tower Accident, Brookhaven (Daily Leader)

OSHA Investigation of Fatal Ingram Street Water Tower Accident, Brookhaven (Daily Leader)

41-year-old John T. Johnson, of Du Pont, was killed in a construction accident at a Brookhaven water tower Wednesday, July 24, 2014.

According to WTVM News,  Mr. Johnson, an employee of Southeast Tank and Tower, was contracted to sandblast and repaint a Brookhaven water tower on Ingram Street. Mr. Johnson was working with a water tower renovation crew, 70-90 feet above ground, when he fell from scaffolding. Emergency crews transported Mr. Johnson to King’s Daughters Medical Center, where he succumbed to injuries.

Our Legal Take

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and The Murray Law Firm are now questioning what factors, such as faulty scaffolding, loose cables or frayed safety harnesses, may have played a role in this tragedy:

What type of scaffolding was in place? Did this scaffolding meet CDC and OSHA safety standards? When were the scaffolding, cables and safety holds last inspected? Were fall prevention platforms and emergency safety harnesses in place to prevent falls? Was Mr. Johnson wearing a lifeline harness and, if so, did the harness break or fail at the time of the fall? Did spacing between scaffolding rungs meet government requirements? 

Should a catastrophic equipment failure have contributed to this tragedy, the family of Mr. Johnson may elect to hold the equipment owner and manufacturer civilly liable in his wrongful death. Additionally, as Mr. Johnson was working at the time of his death, his family is almost certainly entitled to significant workers’ compensation benefits per Georgia law. Claims of this magnitude will, most importantly, demand that Southeast Tank and Tower and the entire water tower industry re-evaluate safety equipment, training and procedures. Perhaps, through these claims, many other lives may be spared.

Photographs and a thorough, unbiased inspection of all equipment will need to be performed before any evidence may be repaired, damaged or destroyed. As such, the Johnson family should seek an experienced workers’ compensation and product liability firm without delay to ensure all evidence is preserved and their best interests are protected.

The Murray Law Firm works tirelessly to protect victims and families of catastrophic work accidents, such as this, and we offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 912.385.9690.

 

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(AJC/Channel 2 Action News)

(AJC/Channel 2 Action News)

29-year-old Robert A. Rust, of Snellville, was killed in a tractor accident at the Smoke Rise Country Club Monday, July 28, 2014.

According to the AJC, Mr. Rust was a groundskeeper for the Smoke Rise Country Club golf course. DeKalb County authorities believe he was operating a tractor around 2:30pm, Monday afternoon, when the vehicle overturned, rolling over Mr. Rust.

DeKalb Fire Spokesman Capt. Eric Jackson told media, “It appears that he was operating a tractor with a grass blower attached to the back. It is believed he was coming down a hill when the tractor turned over.”

Tragically, Mr. Rust perished from injuries.

Our Legal Take

The tragedy has raised grave concerns over a potentially catastrophic equipment malfunction at the country club. Advocates for worker’s rights at The Murray Law Firm are questioning what factors may have lead to this horrible accident:

The CDC warns that nearly all tractor rollover fatalities may be prevented should the tractor owner install a ROPS (rollover protective structure). Did the tractor have a ROPS or automatic rollover shut-off feature? What rollover safety features were available on the tractor and how did those features fail? 

DeKalb authorities note a grass blower was attached to the tractor at the time of the accident. Did the weight of the grass blower cause the tractor to rollover? Was the grass blower made for this specific tractor model? Did the country club purchase and attach a grass blower unintended for use with this model tractor?  Did the manufacturer miscalculate the tractor’s ability to carry this added weight safely?

As the details of this tragedy continue to emerge, the family of Robert Rust may elect to file civil claims with the owner and manufacturer of the tractor and grass blower, should a catastrophic equipment malfunction have contributed to this accident. Additionally, as Mr. Rust was working at the time of his death, his family is almost certainly entitled to substantial workers’  compensation benefits per Georgia law. Total claims may be in the millions of dollars and will send a clearly-needed message to all tractor manufacturers and owners on the need to implement proper rollover prevention features to protect operators. Through such claims, hopefully, many other lives may be spared.

The Rust family should retain an experienced workers’ compensation and product liability firm as soon as possible to ensure all evidence is preserved and their best interests are protected. Photographs and a thorough inspection of the equipment will need to be performed immediately, before any evidence may be repaired, damaged or destroyed.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive experience in protecting victims of catastrophic work accidents, such as this, and we offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information or legal representation is encouraged to contact us at 404.842.1600.

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13th Street Bridge Construction FallEmergency crews made a harrowing recovery over the 13th Street Bridge Wednesday morning, July 16, 2014, when a construction worker became injured and stranded high above the Chatahoochee River.

WTVM News reports, a Columbus construction worker was struck by a network of chain link metal while working on the side of the 13th Street Bridge, which connects Columbus to Phenix City. The metal, which serves to trap falling debris, came lose and struck the worker, leaving him injured and immobilized over the waters. Supported only by his safety harness and cable, the worker was left dangling beneath the bridge in audible pain for several hours as emergency crews worked to free him. A high-angle rescue team was able to stabilize the victim lowering him in a stokes basked to the river shore and then back up over the bridge.

The victim was transported to the hospital. Thankfully, the battalion chief reports the injuries are non life-threatening.

Our Legal Take

As the victim was working at the time of his accident he is almost certainly entitled to workers compensation benefits per Georgia law. In addition to compensation available under the workers compensation code, the victim may have an additional claim against the bridge inspector and metal sheeting manufacturer, should their negligence have contribute to this accident.

13th Street Bridge Construction AccidentUnfortunately, employers and insurance companies are often most concerned with getting employees back to work quickly rather than their long-term needs and medical care. As such, it is imperative the victim retain an attorney experienced in workers’ compensation and personal injury immediately to ensure their best interests are protected. A thorough inspection of all equipment and structures involved must be performed before any evidence may be removed, damaged or destroyed.

The Murray Law Firm has extensive experience in protecting victims of catastrophic construction accidents, such as this, and we offer our legal expertise, if needed. Anyone seeking further information is encouraged to contact us at 706.494.2800.