Articles Posted in Industrial Accidents

Workers in Oregon should be entitled to safe workplaces where they can complete their responsibilities and then return home to family, friends, and loved ones. Too often, that doesn’t happen. Workers may receive insufficient training, inadequate supervision, or machinery that lacks proper safety protections. When a serious injury results, the worker may have a civil claim under Oregon law. If that is you or a loved one, an experienced Oregon industrial accident lawyer can offer invaluable information and advice about this area of the law and how it might apply to your situation.

An unsafe workplace led to a catastrophic injury to one man in Hermiston, according to a lawsuit he filed recently. Willamette Week reported that D. R.-P. was working the night shift at a food “upcycling” facility when a damp package jammed a shredder machine. Based on earlier instructions from the supervisor, the man jumped onto the conveyor belt to free the problematic package. When he did so, he fell into the shredder’s cutting blades, which severely mangled his legs.

The lawsuit, which the man filed here in Multnomah County, alleges many forms of substandard safety. The safety training the man received was deficient and the company failed to adopt safety protocols, the complaint claimed.

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Workers today utilize machines to perform (or facilitate) a broad spectrum of tasks. Machines are essential to the success of many industrial and manufacturing operations. For the human workers in those facilities, their safety hinges in large part on those machines being in proper condition. An unsafe machine can pose all manner of risks that can disfigure, maim, or kill workers. If the entities who were responsible for that machine’s manufacturing, installation, maintenance, and repair were not the injured worker’s employer, then the worker has the opportunity, with the aid of an experienced Oregon industrial accident lawyer, to sue that third party (or parties) for their negligent acts (or inaction) and recoup essential compensation through the civil justice system.

The National Institutes of Health found that, from 1992-2010, an average of 770 workers died each year in “occupational fatalities involving machinery.” One cause of these accidents is substandard equipment. A machine that was defectively manufactured, installed improperly, or not maintained or repaired correctly is a machine that has the potential to kill workers.

Allegedly, that was the basis of a tragic workplace death just outside Medford. The deceased man, F.E., was a contractor hired by a company that allegedly was in the business of extracting hash oil from marijuana. The process required using an extraction machine system and butane as a solvent, and the company hired F.E. to install the system. F.E. and others spotted a leak during the installation process, according to the estate’s lawsuit. Everyone evacuated but when the contractor and one other man re-entered the warehouse, a massive explosion allegedly ensued. The contractor suffered widespread burn injuries that proved fatal.

Portland and the surrounding area welcomed the start of fall a few weeks ago, and the change of seasons brought temperatures in the 40s. Not long ago, though, Portland sweltered under triple-digit temperatures. As uncomfortable and challenging as extreme heat can be for most of us, it is vastly more dangerous for workers who work outside or in non-climate-controlled settings. These jobs can be not only dangerous but also fatal. Sometimes, a worker’s heat-related workplace injury or death may be the result of multiple people or entities failing to do their jobs — and that includes people or entities beyond just the worker’s employer. When that happens, an experienced Oregon industrial accident lawyer can help you take the appropriate legal steps.

When temperatures reached 100+ back in August, KGW8 took the opportunity to remind readers of the heat-related workplace protections that are now in place in Oregon.

Back in 2021, multiple workers died during a June heat wave where temperatures reached the mid 110’s. In the wake of those deaths, the Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division (Oregon OSHA) created new administrative rules to protect workers from the heat. The rules apply to “any workplace where extreme heat caused by weather can expose workers to heat-related illnesses.”

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People whose sole (or primary) source of information about the civil justice system is courtroom drama TV shows likely presume that cases are 100% won or lost at trial. In reality, what leads to success in your major injury case often happens well before the trial even begins. That’s because developing the strongest possible case involves many facets, including proper pretrial procedural steps, and that’s why the odds of getting justice are enhanced by retaining a knowledgeable Oregon injury lawyer.

A recent injury case from the federal District Court in Eugene is a good example. The huge “win” the injured plaintiff received was not regarding some factual or legal issue, but rather the use of expert witnesses.

Expert witnesses can be a major element of a successful case. Say, for example, you suffered a catastrophic injury with permanent paralysis at work due to the negligence of a third party (i.e., not your employer.) Your injuries mean a lifetime of medical treatment, rehab, pain, anguish, mental distress, and never being able to work again.

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When workplaces lack appropriate worker safety protections, serious and sometimes life-changing (or even fatal) accidents are too often the result. Sometimes, you, as an injured worker, may be entitled to restorative relief through an industrial accident lawsuit. These cases can be highly complex, making representation from a knowledgeable Oregon industrial accident lawyer especially valuable.

One factor that can help workers to receive safer workplaces is the threat of OSHA fines from the state. The fines the State of Oregon hands out to employers operating unsafe workplaces have historically been among the lowest in the country, even when the safety violations were obvious and substantial. For example, one construction worker in West Linn died in an accident caused by a heavy-duty loader with no working brakes or horn. Despite finding that the safety violations carried a “high probability of death and that ‘with reasonable diligence, (the) employer could have known that the loader’s brakes and horn were not operating properly’,” Oregon OSHA fined the excavation company only $5,400.

Those fines will be increasing going forward. Earlier this month, the Oregon legislature passed a bill that forces Oregon OSHA to lift its minimum fine amounts to mirror the minimum fines federal OSHA requires. According to The Oregonian, that means raising minimum fines by more than 1,000% in some circumstances.

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The month of March 2023 has brought with it yet another fire and explosion at an Oregon industrial/manufacturing facility. Fortunately, no one was gravely injured or killed. Sometimes, these sorts of incidents happen despite the best efforts of all those responsible for worker safety. Too often, though, these events involve a degree of negligence, sometimes by multiple parties. When you’re one of the workers injured in this way, you may have several legal options. If someone other than your employer acted (or failed to act) in a way that meets Oregon’s legal standards for negligence, then you can pursue an industrial accident case. With representation from an experienced Oregon industrial accident lawyer, you can obtain much-needed compensation from that third party for your injuries.

The most recent explosive incident took place at a wood railroad tie treatment facility in The Dalles, which is about 80 miles east of Portland. It left two people injured, according to a KPIC report. Both of those individuals were firefighters responding to the emergency. The local Sheriff’s Office indicated that both firefighters were in good condition. No workers were hurt in the fire or the explosion.

The tank where the incident occurred contained QNAP copper naphthenate, which is a substitute for creosote, a substance used in treating wood railroad ties, according to Columbia Community Connection. The Sheriff’s Office told KPIC that the tank in question had been taken offline earlier that day to be cleaned.

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Oregon has a long unfortunate history of handing out very small fines to companies caught violating workplace safety laws and rules. Currently, the statutory minimum for serious violations is only $100. When it comes your workplace accident, taking the proper legal steps on a timely basis may be crucial both to getting the financial recovery you deserve and also holding those responsible for your harm (or your loved one’s death) accountable for their actions. That process starts with the crucial first step of retaining the services of a knowledgeable Oregon workplace accident lawyer.

Recently, OregonLive.com recounted the story of M.V., a mill worker in Prineville who nearly lost a finger in a saw accident. The worker required surgical reattachment of her ring finger, which the saw had almost completely amputated. The injury caused long-term pain and limitation of movement. The state investigated and found that the saw lacked a proper guard and M.V. hadn’t received proper training on the tool. The mill also had a history of unsafe machinery and untrained workers.

The state fined the mill $780.

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Each January, Americans pause to reflect upon the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. On multiple occasions, Dr. King counseled new college graduates and other audiences that “the time is always right to do what is right.” At Kaplan Law LLC we strive to do exactly that as we pursue justice on behalf of our clients.

And, as of this month, we’ve been doing it for 20 years.

During those two decades, we have represented a lot of victims and their families in catastrophic injury (and death) cases, including high-profile ones like Jed Hawk Myers. Myers died in the Yamhill County Jail after his pleas for medical attention — 19 times across five hours, to be exact — were ignored.

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When you’ve endured a serious workplace injury (or a workplace accident has claimed the life of a loved one,) there are limits to what your family can recover through the workers’ compensation system. However, many workplace accidents present an alternate outlet for getting the compensation you need: a third-party action. These lawsuits can represent crucial lifelines for injured workers and/or their families to receive the full recovery they need. Third-party industrial accident cases also can be especially complex legal matters, so if you’ve been hurt on the job, make sure you consult an experienced Oregon industrial accident lawyer about your situation.

A harrowing industrial accident occurred just last month in Southwest Portland when a 50-ton drilling rig tipped over at the Oregon Health and Science University. For reasons unknown at the time OregonLive published its report, the rig overturned and pinned its operator inside. Portland Fire and Rescue eventually extricated the man from the rig’s cab and transported him to a nearby trauma center with serious injuries.

When these kinds of accidents happen, serious or fatal worker injuries often are the result. According to OSHA, approximately 1 in 5 worker fatalities in the private sector involves someone working in construction, and many of these fatalities involve heavy equipment such as trucks or cranes.

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The wrongful and unexpected death of a loved one can be overwhelming. It often involves grieving and caring for other affected family members. It may include having to plan final arrangements while also fielding phone calls from insurers and others seeking to obtain a quick (and cheap) settlement of your legal claims. As you deal with your family matters, rely on an experienced Oregon wrongful death lawyer to provide the assistance you need in addressing the legal matters.

This skillful representation matters because your case may involve a large amount of damages and will probably encounter a vigorous (and well-funded) opposition. A knowledgeable legal advocate can make sure everything is done properly… and on time.

Timing is a crucial element, as a recent federal wrongful death case shows. The case involved a Washington man who worked in shipyards for much of his 20s, often working with and/or near materials that contained asbestos.

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