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Cal-OSHA says fatal Bay Point industrial accident was preventable

In April, we discussed the tragic accident in Bay Point that claimed the life of a 26-year-old man. The worker was employed by a company based out-of-state and was at the Henkel Corporation plant in Contra Costa County as a temporary worker when he was caught in an industrial mixing machine. He suffered crushing injuries.

The man originally was rushed to the hospital to undergo surgery. The worker’s legs were amputated after the industrial accident. However, he did not survive.

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health conducted an investigation of the fatal workplace accident. Tuesday, Cal-OSHA issued a press release saying that the workplace accident was entirely preventable. The workplace safety agency accuses the California manufacturing company of six safety violations, including two violations that the agency considers as “willful serious.”

Investigators say that the worker was pulled into an industrial mixer at the plant and was unable to free himself. The agency says that important safeguards to ensure worker safety were not properly followed. Among the willful violations, Cal-OSHA says that operation guards were not properly set up and used, and the company failed to recognize or address hazards posed by the mixer under its own protocols.

Temporary staffing relationships may create complex issues under California’s workers’ compensation laws. Generally, workers’ comp benefits are available for illnesses and injuries that arise out of, and occur in the course of employment. And the laws apply between workers and their employers.

A temp staffing relationship may involve a special kind of employment relationship, and a California workers’ compensation lawyer may assist accident victims or their families in pursuing a claim against companies and insurers (or any third-party) who may be liable for an accident.

Source: California Department of Industrial Relations, “Cal/OSHA Cites Henkel over $200,000 Following Death of Temporary Worker," News Release, Sept. 10, 2013

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