Articles Tagged with safety

Published on:

Huntsville Workers Compensation AttorneysAccording to the new Amazon CEO, the company’s “injury rates are sometimes misunderstood.” I guess that’s his “spin” on the high numbers. In modern society, “I’m just misunderstood” seems to be the first defense for people who do NOT want accountability for their bad or dangerous decisions!

The Amazon CEO’s letter reminds me of a construction injury case I worked several years ago. I represented a steel worker who suffered disabling injuries in a worksite fall on a Huntsville project. The contractor did nothing for safety — No real safety plan. No real safety meetings. No real safety equipment. At trial, the construction company’s executive claimed his company was safe and my case was just a “misunderstanding” of their safety culture. The executive then bragged from the witness stand about a safety award the company won (and proudly displayed on its website). Here’s the problem with their so-called award — It was a complete spin. They had multiple accidents and even deaths on their worksites. The award only counted project managers. It did not count the workers doing the real (and dangerous) jobs. It was a fake award. If any “misunderstanding” existed, it was because the company was trying to spin its safety failures. Fortunately, the truth came out in our trial. We were able to hold the company accountable for all our client’s personal injuries and damages.

Is safety a real concern or not? Do some companies manipulate the numbers to lie about their safety record? Are these companies simply “misunderstood” as Amazon’s CEO claims? What’s the real truth?

Published on:

Worker-Safety-Is-Important-For-Everyone-300x300Last Fall, I wrote about two deadly trench collapses in the Huntsville area. One trench collapse involved a private construction company in Madison. The other involved a City of Huntsville project and public employees. Year-after-year, trench collapses are one of the most frequent causes of construction site wrongful deaths.

Were these two deadly construction accidents treated differently? Yes. After an investigation, OSHA fined the private contractor in Madison for its fatal accident. The City’s public project? That’s a different story. The City was not cited for the dangerous worksite it created. And, it did create one. A 20 foot deep, unprotected trench, is a reckless and dangerous condition. It’s inexcusable for the City to put its workers in such tremendous danger!

Why were the two different sites treated differently? Why do workers employed with private companies get some protection from OSHA while many public workers do not? All workers deserve a safe workplace!

Published on:

Huntsville Accident & Injury LawyersI’ve written more posts about the Occupational Health & Safety Administration (OSHA) than I can count. Most of my OSHA-related articles discuss specific safety hazards or issues that impact my Alabama clients. In some articles, I discuss specific citations at Alabama businesses.

One of my primary complaints — OSHA is undermanned and underfunded. The Agency should protect working men and women. In theory, it does. In reality, it lacks the manpower to conduct needed inspections. Unsafe workplaces across the United States go without inspection until a deadly accident leaves families grieving the loss of a loved one. This lack of manpower and inspections are issues I’ve discussed many times. So, I’ll leave it for today.

Are OSHA inspections and violations public record? Someone recently asked our office this question. Yes, they are accessible. In many prior cases, I’ve obtained OSHA reports or data. Through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, you can find detailed information about violations and other incidents. In prior cases, I’ve found key information from these FOIA requests. I’ve also obtained information from OSHA’s Birmingham area office. But, I’m not writing simply to list the steps in a FOIA request. Nor am I writing to list addresses that are available in a simple Google search. Instead, I want to talk about a couple serious ways OSHA can help your injury case. I also want to discuss a third way OSHA should impact safety through our work comp system. Unfortunately, it does not in Alabama.

Published on:

Alabama Workers Compensation AttorneysIn December, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) issued a huge fine for safety violations at a Dollar General store in Mobile, Alabama. The fine itself is pretty big for any retail store — $321,827. Beyond the fine amount, OSHA issued the following statement:

At the U.S. Department of Labor, the company [Dollar General] is recognized for its long history of violations and repeated failures to protect its workers from on-the-job hazards.

Then, an OSHA officer added the following additional comment:

Published on:

Decatur Work Comp AttorneysYesterday evening, I read that an injured Daikin America worker remains in the intensive care unit at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) more than two months after his exposure to a chemical on the job at Daikan in Decatur. According to reports, three workers were hospitalized following the July 2 accident. One of the three workers has since passed away from his injuries.

Was this chemical exposure an isolated incident? No. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), a worker also died in 2019 following an exposure at the same plant.

Think about that! A worker dies following an exposure in 2019. Two years later, three more workers are exposed. Hopefully, we can learn what happened in these exposures. I’m real interested in learning what Daikin did (or did not do) to correct its safety procedures after the first incident!

Published on:

Huntsville Injury LawyersWith poultry giant Tyson, the safety hits just keep coming! Last week, I wrote about Tyson managers actually gambling on worker safety. That is, managers abandoned their workers in the midst of a pandemic and then gambled on how many would get sick. That’s horrible. You can read my article titled When Management Bets Against Worker Safety on this blog.

The day after I published my latest article, I read about more poultry industry mis-conduct that puts worker lives at risk. According to a new article, Tyson managers actually directed language interpreters to misrepresent safety conditions to the company’s hispanic workers. You can read that article titled Tyson Accused of Misleading Interpreters at Virus-Hit Plant at the Claims Journal website.

Really? When Covid strikes its workforce, management abandons the plant floor. Management stops safety meetings. Management leaves the workers to fend for themselves. Then, management gambles on how many will get sick? Coronavirus has run rampant through poultry plants in Alabama and across the United States.

Published on:

Huntsville Injury AttorneysWe share the road with big trucks. Most truckers are trained, safety-conscious drivers. Most truckers work hard to reach their destinations safely.

In past articles, I’ve discussed the health and safety issues truck drivers face. Truck driver health is a concern. Sitting long hours for your job. Sleeping away from home. Eating on the road. It is difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Many drivers face health issues. Diabetes. Obesity. Sleep apnea. Some of these health issues create safety risks on the roadway. The large companies employing truck drivers need to do a better job keeping their workforce healthy. You can read some of my past truck driver health and safety articles on this blog. In several of my past articles, I discuss important health issues facing truckers. On several occasions I’ve also written about problems and fraud in the medical certification system. Here, in Alabama, we’ve seen fraudulent medical certifiers put dangerous drivers on our roadways.

I’m not writing today about truck drivers. I’m writing about the trucks they driver. Are the commercial trucks on our roads and highways safe? Are trucking companies putting drivers on the road with dangerous equipment? We drive next to big trucks every day assuming they are safe. We assume those trucks have been maintained, serviced and properly equipped. But, recent studies indicate too many trucking companies put dangerous trucks on our highways.

Published on:

Untitled-design-3-copy-2-1-300x300Huntsville Growth Means Lots Of Road Construction

Over the last decade, the Huntsville area has seen tremendous development. The surrounding area is rapidly growing. In downtown Huntsville, multiple hotels and offices are under construction. In the medical district, Huntsville Hospital and other medical offices continue expanding. Along Highway 72, you see stores and offices stretching from Huntsville to Athens. Throughout Madison, Limestone and Morgan Counties, new neighborhoods are under development. With new development, comes new road construction. And, authorities must maintain existing roads as well. If you live around Huntsville, it’s likely you regularly deal with road construction somewhere on your daily route!

Road Construction Workers Are At Risk For Serious Injury Or Death

Published on:

Alabama Accident & Injury LawyersWorkers at meat and poultry plants suffer some of the highest rates of occupational injury. In his 1906 book, The Jungle, Upton Sinclair wrote of the occupational dangers within Chicago’s meat processing plants. A hundred years later, food processing plants still function as if human labor and lives are expendable.

Chicago is famous for the meat-packing industry. In Alabama, these plants are typically chicken processing plants. They are places that employ people at low wages and expose them to non-stop processes. You don’t need me to tell you that many of these plants have a shameful history of workplace injuries and deaths. The numerous news stories already tell that history. Too many of these plants view people as cheap and expendable labor. But, that’s NOT how we should value human lives.

Over the last twenty years, I’ve represented numerous workers injured in Alabama poultry plants. Shoulder, arm and hand injuries are rampant. The assembly line moves too fast for any human to work long-term without injury. Yet, it’s more than just rapid assembly line injuries. The lack of safety concern also produces many injuries from falls, forklifts, and heavy lifting without proper equipment.

Published on:

Blackwell Law Firm helps injured workers across Alabama.I read a disturbing article in the Insurance Journal last week. The title says it all:

$2B Orlando Highway Construction Project Halted After 5th Worker Death

Five separate workplace deaths on one project! One fatal work-related accident is INEXCUSABLE. Five? It’s hard to comprehend. How could one site be so deadly? How could the contractor allow this to happen? Worker deaths from safety issues are ALWAYS inexcusable.

Contact Information