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Some workplace accidents give grounds for filing civil lawsuits

Employers in Ohio and elsewhere in the country are responsible for the safety of workers by addressing all known hazards. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration prescribes safety standards. After a fatal workplace accident, the surviving family might have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the employer in certain circumstances. However, proof of gross negligence on the part of the employer is typically required.

An example of such circumstances is a case in another state, following a fatality in which a robotic arm robotic arm crushed a worked to death. After the employer’s guilty plea for willfully violating a lockout/tagout regulation, the company was ordered to pay $1 million to the deceased worker’s estate. A $500,000 fine was also imposed by OSHA, along with required weekly inspections during a three-year probation period. Reportedly, the U.S. Department of Labor also levied a fine of $2.5 million relating to 30 infractions.

This fatal workplace accident involved a 20-year-old contract worker who entered an area without following the necessary lockout/tagout procedures. She helped resolve a sensor issue on the assembly line when a robotic arm struck her, causing her death. Reportedly, the prescribed safety measures were typically disregarded by workers to prevent stopping the line and wasting time.

Safety investigators learned that supervisors on the plant failed to enforce compliance with safety standards. Furthermore, they found that even the supervisors frequently entered the area without using the lockout/tagout procedures. When such gross negligence of an employer causes the death of a loved one in Ohio, the surviving family members can claim death benefits from the workers’ compensation insurance system and simultaneously pursue additional financial relief through the state’s civil justice system.