A story from Ohio last week highlights the danger of industrial accidents throughout the United States and the need for all of us to be vigilant. According to Ohio.com, the website of the Akron Beacon-Journal newspaper, “a 45-year-old man was killed after he was pulled into a machine while working at a northeast Ohio industrial company.”
The article goes on to note that the man died “after his clothing was stuck in the machine and he was pulled into it. A fire official said that when rescuers arrived… (the victim) had been freed from the machine by co-workers, but he died from crushing injuries.”
Had this industrial accident taken place here in Oregon there would be a number of clear-cut legal issues that would merit examination. In particular, we would have to consider whether the deceased and his co-workers were properly trained in the use of the equipment they were hired to operate and whether the employer maintained that equipment properly. The latter point is especially important because it highlights the responsibility of employers not only to give their staff the necessary and appropriate knowledge to do their jobs but also the employers’ responsibility to maintain the machinery in a safe manner.
As a Portland industrial accident lawyer I see cases like this all too often. It is important for employers to understand that their responsibility does not end with establishing a workplace. All employees, whether here in Oregon or anywhere else around the country, deserve a safe workplace. It is unfortunate that we as a society need courts and laws to ensure that companies do the right thing, but also reassuring that we as Americans have the right to have our complaints heard by a court when employers fail to live up to their responsibilities.