Tragically, last November, four workers were killed at a La Porte plant by a toxic gas leak, with DuPont being cited 11 times recently for safety violations following an investigation into the incident.
According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the four dead workers “would be alive today” had DuPont “taken steps to protect them”. The Houston Chronicle reported that the four employees were working in the company’s pesticide unit when the incident occurred.
The newspaper reported that on November 15, 2014, a worker opened a drain on a vent line inside a plant tower when the toxic gas methyl mercaptan, one of the ingredients in the pesticide called Lannate, was released into the air. The gas reportedly overwhelmed the person who released the vent line, as well as three other people who rushed to the aid of the worker.
The toxic gas kills victims by attacking their central nervous systems, causing them to suffer respiratory paralysis. An OSHA investigation allegedly showed that there were serious safety violations at the plant at the time of the incident, including issues with employee training when it came to ventilation systems and procedures.
Additionally, the Chronicle reported that there were no monitors present at the plant to check for methyl mercaptan leaks when the incident occurred. Ventilation fans may have also been malfunctioning. Due to the alleged violations, OSHA has proposed fines of $99,000 against DuPont.
Family Member Died in a Workplace Accident—Do I Have Legal Rights?
As we reported in April, following a fatal workplace accident, it is smart for family members of victims to speak to an injury attorney. While this may be difficult following a death, an attorney can investigate a claim to determine if family members are entitled to workers’ compensation death benefits based on the projected income a victim would have earned, or if there are grounds for a wrongful death or third-party claim.
It is sad that thousands of Americans are killed each year due to the reckless actions of their employers. Family members must fight back and hold those responsible for the deaths of their loved ones accountable. By contacting an attorney, outside of seeking damages, you could help other employees, by making sure their workplace is safer in the future.
The Law Offices of Aaron Allison – Austin Personal Injury Attorney